North Bay cancer survivor honoured for her courage

Lisa Dupuis returned three wigs on loan from the Canadian Cancer Society in North Bay, Thursday. Dupuis received an award for her courage during her battle with Stage 3 rectal cancer. Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles / The Nugget Lisa Dupuis was packed and ready to head for Mexico to celebrate her new job. But instead of lying on the beach enjoying the warm sun and cool drinks, she was scheduled for a CT scan and MRI.

Dupuis, 50, was told the day before her vacation that she couldn’t go because she had Stage 3 rectal cancer.

That was in May 2017.

Dupuis handed back the three wigs on loan from the Canadian Cancer Society in North Bay Thursday afternoon.

The North Bay resident no longer needs them.

“I have spent time volunteering for the cancer society during their daffodil campaign and their annual Relay for Life, but I never imagined that one day I would need their services,” she admitted.

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Dupuis said she wasn’t too worried when she found a bit of blood in her stool considering she was in good health and young.

“I thought it was a bleeding hemorrhoid or something simple. Because I am young, the cause was most likely something other than cancer. But I quickly found out that no amount or colour of blood in your stools is a good thing.”

Dupuis had a colonoscopy and was given the devastating news.

“The doctor came in and told me I had cancer. I told him that wasn’t possible because I was headed to Mexico the following morning. I had planned the trip to celebrate the new job I just got.”

But Dupuis was forced to change her plans.

A five-centimetre tumour and a few lymph nodes were removed, as well as a section of her rectum and colon.

Dupuis underwent five weeks of radiation and received a daily dose of chemotherapy.

Her courage was acknowledged during the Daffodil Campaign Launch and Awards ceremony Thursday at the Canadian Cancer Society on Lakeshore Drive.

Dupuis was given the Celebrating Courage Award, which recognizes a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer who has demonstrated exceptional courage in his/her personal experience with cancer.

The individual is considered an inspiration and role model to others within the community.

“I knew what I was up against and I just dug in,” Dupuis says. “It wasn’t a choice for me. I took one day at a time, and I now I look for the good things in life, the simple things, you know like rainbows.”

Once her body heals from the surgery, Dupuis plans to get a tattoo of a rainbow on her behind.

“The money people donate to support fundraisers like the daffodil campaign and Relay for Life makes a huge difference. Research has made some huge strides,” she says. “I have a lot of plans and I’ve realized there’s no time like the present to make them happen.”

Gil Pharand, senior manager for the Canadian Cancer Society North Bay, says cancer changes people and that one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

“But a cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to define a person. Our goal is to improve the cancer experience by helping people live longer and enhancing their quality of life. We believe that life is bigger than cancer.”

The society will be engaging people in North Bay through door-to-door canvassing for donations, daffodil pin sales and special events throughout April.

Pharand also recognized several volunteers for their dedication and years of service.

Awards were given out for five, 10, 15, 20, 40 and 50 years of volunteer service. Trending in Canada

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