“My name is Sierra Collina and I’m a 25-year-old, two-time cancer survivor. My very long cancer journey began with a diagnosis of Ewing Sarcoma at the young age of 15. With zero knowledge cancer, this was a huge shock and adjustment for my family. I went through 12 months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and a major surgery to remove my tumour and my sixth and seventh ribs. I was then in remission and able to get back to a somewhat “normal life”. What most people don’t understand is just because I am in remission does not mean I am 100% back to my normal self. This was a real struggle for not only me, but for my family and close friends.
I was cancer-free for two and a half years, in school again and back to work, when I was hit with another shock—a diagnosis of secondary cancer—Leukaemia. Without being given a moment to comprehend why this was happening again, I was admitted to the hospital and told I would need a transplant. It was during this time very confusing time that my hospital social worker told me about a new program called Pink Pearl. She thought it was be good for me and my mom to attend the Foundation’s very first retreat. I am so beyond thankful I did and I have attended retreats and events ever since.
Belonging to Pink Pearl has made a major impact on my life. I’m able to connect with women my age that have been through a similar situation, which can be very uplifting and inspiring. Throughout a cancer journey it is so important to know you are not alone, and that you can confide in other young women because they will truly understand the struggles of having cancer and the post long-term effects on your life.
One outstanding and memorable Pink Pearl initiative for me is the annual ‘Black and White with a Touch of Pink’ event held in Toronto every spring. It’s a night to get all dressed up and mingle with new and old friends, and also to raise money and awareness in support of young women who might have to face this horrible disease one day. My favourite features of the event are the silent auction, the prize games, and the various speakers sharing their cancer stories and giving everyone a better understanding of the importance of cancer support.
Pink Pearl has and will always be a big part of my life. It has helped me become a more confident and positive cancer fighter and survivor.”
– Sierra Collina, Program Participant