Marianna Hope - Support Activities in Nova Scotia

Marianna Hope - Support Activities in Nova Scotia

Marianna Hope is a survivor with a very positive outlook on life. A breast cancer survivor for almost 11 years now, she was diagnosed with a benign meningioma brain tumour five years ago, she underwent a craniotomy to have it removed.

Marianna, 61, from Salem, Nova Scotia, says that support groups have been an important part of her journey.

After her diagnosis with breast cancer she decided to attend a breast cancer support group meeting, telling herself she would give it one year. If it didn’t' work she'd stop going. That was over ten years ago. She is also an active member of the local breast cancer dragon boat team.

After her craniotomy surgery Marianna was released from hospital but given without very much information on post-op care. Being a nurse, she was able to find out the information she needed. But, while convalescing, she started thinking about how others who found themselves in the same situation, with no medical background or experience, would deal with their journey.

From her experiences with the breast cancer support group, she knew how important it was to connect with others in a support group setting. She contacted, Linda Clark, a nurse in Halifax who had started a Brain Tumour support group in there. "Linda put me in touch with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and Mary Sheehan and I started our support group here in September 2002," says Marianna.

The group meets once a month. The goal is to create "a safe and confidential environment where participants can express their feelings and concerns." Sometimes they bring in speakers to talk about nutrition, home care and other relevant topics and hold social events. More often they just come together to share their stories, giving and receiving support from one another.

Marianna also volunteers with her Community Health Board, a liaison organization between the community-at-large and the health authority under primary health care. She says connections like this help create more awareness for Brain Tumour Foundation.

For Marianna, the journey has helped her realize that every day is a special day. Most recently she became a grandmother calling it "a bonus day."

"I'm aware that life's too short," she says. "So let's move on and enjoy it."

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