November 2018

Cancer has shaken our worlds—Lulu's and mine—not once, but twice. Yet we picked ourselves up again—not once, but twice. Now we are a little stronger, a little more humble and way more resilient.

You know those friendships that truly withstand the test of time? We didn’t see each other very often, but every time our paths crossed, it was as if nothing had changed. That’s the way it is between my friend Lulu and me. She’s one of the real ones. The ones who speak from the heart. And I can tell you: after the storm she went through, the girl they call the blonde tornado was more inspiring than ever…

The last time we met was on an autumn afternoon, at the invitation of the Quebec Cancer Foundation. Lulu had already faced cancer, not once but twice. First her mother, then her, just one month later. I'd also had to give my support to a relative with the disease on two occasions. So there were some similarities in our stories, and she generously agreed to give her testimonial. To me, but also to you at the same time.

Over tea, I told her about my involvement with the Foundation, its services and how I wished they were better known. I also talked about my experience with cancer as a caregiver. But I mostly listened.

It was the first time she had told me her story from A to Z. We’d gotten together before, both during her treatment and afterwards: the first time for a broadcast, and the next in the context of fundraising activities for cancer. This time, however, we opened up to each other more intimately than ever before.
"You’re so goddam strong," I blurted out. It was stronger than me. Hearing that word, feeling its vibration, I was speechless. I could hardly conceive the sheer scale of it, just how much she had experienced. I knew she was strong on stage. But in that situation, my friend had to be stronger than she’d ever been, while her very world had stopped turning.

"It's as if the Earth had come to a stop," she said, recalling the moment she got her diagnosis.

Fortunately, she had help. Sometimes from people she would never have suspected, as is often the case: "A friend flew over from France in the holiday season to help me with my daughter while I was at my mother’s bedside. Another held my hand while the liquid was being put into my veins. And another left me ready meals on my balcony, to allow me to rest."

In short, her guardian angels showed up because it was their turn to give back.

"It’s for all those people who haven't been so lucky and who are lonely, that I've chosen to talk about today," she told me. "So that they know that the Foundation exists, and that there are people here who have enormous empathy for what they’re going through."

Empathy. We talked about that too. The ability to share the suffering of others while looking after ourselves. I think that’s probably the most difficult thing for the families of people with cancer: being devoured by helplessness. That's one more reason why the Quebec Cancer Foundation is so essential: it also offers a range of services to loved ones, and it's all made possible through your donations.

Not once but twice, cancer has shaken our worlds. Lulu’s and mine. And not once but twice, we got back up. A little stronger, a little more humble and way more resilient.

And today, as the holidays approach, I want to share with you these words full of hope from my friend:

"My job now is to give hope to people. For years, these people have being buying my tickets, buying my records, telling me how beautiful and how good I am. In fact, their unspoken message was: Carry on, we love what you do! But now it's my turn to tell them: Carry on, you'll get through this. Because people do get through this!"

Allow me to thank you in advance for your year-end donation to the Quebec Cancer Foundation. Thank you ... not once but twice. Take care of yourself and everyone you love.

Bruno Pelletier
Spokesperson for the Quebec Cancer Foundation