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Melanoma survivor starts cancer support network to help other patients

Friendly female doctor hands holding patient hand lying in bed for encouragement, empathy, cheering and support while medical examination. Bad news lessening, compassion, trust and ethics concept

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The Donor: Annette Cyr

The gift: Founding the Melanoma Network Society of Canada

The reason: To provide education and support programs

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When Annette Cyr was diagnosed with early stages of melanoma in 2001, there were few treatment options and little information about the cancer.

She went through several surgeries and scans, only to have the cancer return in 2007 which resulted in more surgery.

"I thought if I ever come out of this okay, I'm going to ensure that there is more information and support services," recalled Ms. Cyr who runs a business consulting firm.

In 2009, she set up the Melanoma Network Society of Canada, an Oakville, Ont.,-based charity that offers a variety of educational and support services. That includes visiting summer camps to tell young people about the hazards of too much sun exposure, offering patient information sessions across the country and pairing newly diagnosed patients with people who are recovering from treatment.

Ms. Cyr and her volunteers raise close to $1-million annually to fund the programs and their biggest fundraiser of the year is a golf tournament on May 26 called Tee off for Melanoma Awareness.

The network "has become a very big passion for me," she said, adding that she has had no recurrence of the disease since 2012. "I know we've helped to save lives and been able to be there for a lot of people who otherwise may not have had info at their fingertips and support. … I've been in the corporate world all of my career and this is the most rewarding thing I've ever done."

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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