Paying it forward for BRA Day

Oct. 11, 2016

Media Advisory

Sue Adair drew much strength from a ‘sisterhood’ of women when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She hopes to do the same for others as a speaker at Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day on Oct. 19 at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

As a teacher and behavioural specialist, Sue Adair travels from school to school in Huron and Perth counties teaching children strategies to cope with anxiety and how to calm themselves. But in January 2015, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 52, Adair could not calm herself.

The mom of three couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t stop her mind racing to a place of doom. It took friends who were cancer survivors to get her out of bed in the morning and encourage her to arm herself for a fight rather than self-pity.

“When I was diagnosed I didn’t know there was hope, that I would live. Now, there is a lot of hope that I will live another 30 years.”

Those friends, and many others Adair would meet during her cancer journey, were her strength, her “reinforcements.” She is now stepping into that role for others as a speaker at Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day on Oct. 19 at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“When I went to BRA Day last year I was awaiting a double mastectomy. What I learned there, and what I saw in the show and tell lounge where women so graciously show their results, was so helpful. I went into my surgery with much greater understanding, knowing what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I also saw that sharing is healing. There’s a sisterhood in breast cancer. If my story helps someone make the connections they need to get through it, then that’s important.”

Presented jointly by St. Joseph’s and London Health Sciences Centre, BRA Day is a national campaign to promote education, awareness and access for women wanting to know if breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is right for them. According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, national host of BRA Day, most women who undergo mastectomy are not told of their options, are not aware that reconstruction is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and do not have reconstruction despite the emotional, physical and practical benefits the surgery is known to have.

Whether a woman is scheduled for a mastectomy, had the surgery recently or many years ago, all are invited to:

  • Learn about the options directly from leading plastic surgeons
  • Hear from women who have undergone the surgery
  • View real results first hand in the women’s only ‘show and tell lounge’,
  • Discover the St. Joseph’s Circle of Sharing support group.

In an unusual twist, Adair was diagnosed with stage 1 cancer – it was caught early – yet it was aggressive. The risk was high of the cancer showing up in her second breast. “I lost both breasts with stage one cancer.”

After five months of chemotherapy, Adair chose to have the double mastectomy and reconstruction all at once, in a single operation. She’s thrilled with the results. In addition to speaking at BRA Day, she will be among volunteers in the show and tell lounge this year.

“Having it all done at once I never had to see myself without breasts. That was huge for me. But everyone is different. Every case is unique. The important thing is that women know their options, that they have trust and confidence in their care, and that they have hope. That is what BRA Day is all about and why I’m telling my story.”

In London, BRA Day will be held:

When: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 7:00 - 9:30 pm

Where: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Shuttleworth Auditorium (Zone D, Level 0), 268 Grosvenor St. (Closest entrance is Cheapside St. Entrance 4)

Registration: BRA Day is free but registration is required. Online registration available at



Dahlia Reich

St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Communication & Public Affairs

519-646-6100 ext. 65294

Pager 10117


Kelly Hutchinson

London Health Sciences Centre

Corporate Communications & Public Relations

519-685-8500 ext. 77129

Pager 15427


About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 141 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 65 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information


About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, visit

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