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Brian Fortune (painting) - Halifax

Brian Fortune

Halifax NS
Canada

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My wife and I both enrolled as contacts for the First Connection peer support program, me as a survivor and Brenda as a caregiver. It was very rewarding to be able to assist another survivor in various ways.

They say that every cloud has a silver lining. After surviving two battles with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), I have to say I am a believer in that statement.

Spending a lot of time alone while undergoing chemotherapy gives one the opportunity to reflect on a lot of things about the past, as well as a chance to think about the future you hope you will have.

Following my initial battle with NHL, which started in September of 2013, I decided to get involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada locally. This was largely initiated by the actions of my youngest daughter, who had enrolled our family in the Light the Night Walk that year. Since that initial involvement, I am pleased to say that our family has raised over $10,000 for the LLSC.

My wife and I both enrolled as contacts for the First Connection peer support program, me as a survivor and Brenda as a caregiver. It was very rewarding to be able to assist another survivor in various ways.

Another area of participation was possible as a result of my employer kindly giving me time off to take part in visitations to patients on the transplant floor. Again, it was very rewarding, as a survivor, to meet these patients and offer them words of encouragement.

Perhaps the biggest ‘silver lining’ was remission giving me the impetus to pursue a personal goal that had not been fulfilled for 26 years. As a former member of a men’s cooking club in Ottawa in the 1980s (there were three such clubs at the time), I had always thought about starting a chapter in Halifax. Laying on the couch one day I decided to pursue that goal. A year later, on April 15, 2015, Halifax became the 17th chapter in North America of Les Marmitons International with the required fifteen members. We have since grown to 36 members and in 2018, we successfully hosted the International Gala weekend that attracted close to 200 Marmitons members and partners to Halifax from other clubs in Canada and the United States.

So, am I a believer in every cloud having a silver lining? You bet!

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My wife and I both enrolled as contacts for the First Connection peer support program, me as a survivor and Brenda as a caregiver. It was very rewarding to be able to assist another survivor in various ways.