A Celebration of Life and Beauty

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Amanda Labelle in Features // 0 Comments


From “She” to “We,” the SHE Project by After Breast Cancer is a collective effort to sponsor the cure and to support the beauty and strength of the female spirit. The SHE Project is a photography competition judged by Toronto’s talented media personalities. Taking place on the afternoon of July 16th at the West-end of Toronto, this years’ event will include 12 talented female photographers, 12 Ambassador Breast Cancer Survivors, as well as many of Toronto’s top stylists, designers, and hair and makeup artists.

The SHE project has come to fruition through the tireless efforts of Alicia Vianga, Founder of After Breast Cancer (www.afterbreastcancer.ca), a Canadian-based charity providing resources that contribute to women’s quality of life (QOL) initiatives for life after breast cancer, including the donation of bras, camisoles, and breast prosthesis at no cost to women who had to undergo a mastectomy or lumpectomy.


As Alicia states, “these ladies are powerful women, their stories will move you; cancer may take their breast, cancer may take their self-esteem, but cancer does not define who they are.” Ultimately the aim with this event is to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research, but even more so to spread hope and to promote the beauty that can be seen in the strength of these women: “there’s nothing stopping these women from looking and feeling beautiful.”

SHE Project has partnered with a host of clothing and jewelry designers like Naomi Shapiro of Rock n Karma, Kurve Jewellery, Blu Ivory, Premier Jour Lingerie and Belo Boutiques. SHE has also partnered with Delectable Sweets and Confections supplied by ChocolaChocola and Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts. Renowned hair and makeup team, Beauty Concept by Shirley Wu, with celebrity stylists, Dale Hodder of Shut up and Dress Me have donated their time and talents to help showcase the before and after shots of the 12 brave Ambassadors. This showcase consists of an intimate and raw portrait of each woman and her scars alongside her story outlining the struggles and challenges she has faced and her vulnerability. The photographers each have 60min to shoot and tell their photographic journey.

The photo shoot will take place on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 starting at 6pm at Humber Bay Park at Parklawn Avenue and Lakeshore Blvd. W.

Eight judges have volunteered their time to select the best images from the showcase. Once shortlisted to 2 per individual, the judges will announce and select the best photographs to be unveiled at the After Breast Cancer Gala taking place on September 28, 2014. The final selection will be part of the 2015 Calendar.

The Judges include:

  • Cynthia Mulligan – Canadian television presenter on Citytv’s CityNews
  • Patricia Jaggernauth – Weather Specialist & TV Reporter – CP24
  • Christine Bentley – Canadian journalist and former news anchor on CTV
  • Veronica Chail – Host of Bollywood Boulevard, OMNI TV
  • Angie Seth – On Air Reporter, Global News
  • Shellina Ebrahim – Editor-in-chief of Fas magazine
  • Meera Solanki Estrada- Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Fusia Magazine
  • Taylor Kaye – Radio & TV Personality, Kiss 92.5fm, Steven & Chris Show

Ultimately this event is about giving back: giving funding towards the cause, for sure, but just as importantly giving confidence back to these brave cancer survivors. The hope is that each of these Ambassadors can enjoy her personalized experience of being styled and photographed, without being judged, and will feel confident, triumphant, and beautiful.


Published in Fusia Magazine, July 2014



Yellow & Teal Cocktail Party for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Posted on July 30, 2014 by Amanda Labelle in F Sake: Insight // 0 Comments



On Saturday July 19th I was able to attend a heart-warming event, the Yellow & Teal cocktail party fund raiser for ovarian cancer: an event organized and orchestrated by two dedicated daughters for their mother who is living with ovarian cancer. “We did this because we really love our mother and it’s been very hard recently watching her not do so well,” said Sheleigh, “and we figured that she has always done so much for us as we were growing up, so now, in her time of need, we figured it was time for us to do something for her.” This was a classy and intimate affair held at the Keg Mansion in Toronto; the food was spectacular and those in attendance were all close friends and family. It was a time to share support and to marvel at the unassailable optimism of the guest of honour, Wendy.



Wendy was diagnosed on April 1st 2011 with sever epithelial ovarian cancer. She is undergoing chemo as well as naturopathic complementary treatment. She continues to keep an open mind, an over-flowing heart, and an unparalleled, upbeat, optimistic attitude that is inspiring to see. Wendy is the first to state: “don’t get me wrong, I do cry […] but I have many blessings in my life: I’m still alive!”

The event was also attended by Catherine Argiropoulos, Community Engagement Manager at Ovarian Cancer Canada who gave an address on current awareness efforts and some statistics on the disease. She calls ovarian cancer an “unjust disease” because there is unfortunately “no early detection test, the signs and symptoms are difficult to recognize, and there is so little funding: only 2.1% of cancer funding in the country is directed towards ovarian cancer,” and yet “2600 women in Canada are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.”

Ovarian Cancer Canada is the only national charity in Canada that is dedicated solely to this disease, which works to eradicate the disease and support the 17 thousand women in Canada living with it. Their educational and fundraising efforts have made significant impacts, but there is still a long way to go. The Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope is the single most powerful fundraiser to raise awareness for ovarian cancer in Canada. To date, it has raised over $17 million for ovarian cancer. The walk this year will be held on Sunday Sep 7th, 2014 and Sheleigh, Lindsey, their cousin, and her braver mother will be participating in this year’s Walk of Hope, their 3rd annual “Walk for Wendy.”


Published in Fusia Magazine, July 2014