I’ve always been very creative, and this from a young age, when drawing was my favourite hobby. My interest in the arts only grew with time, so much so that once at university, I chose to specialize in the teaching of plastic arts. Having always wanted to share my enthusiasm and foster creativity, I began teaching my passion to high school students in 2017.
On November 15, 2021, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, an infiltrating duct carcinoma that needed to be treated as quickly as possible. This would entail undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Needless to say, my past life as an active 36-year-old woman with no medical issues was totally upended.
A few minutes after receiving the devastating news, I was given a medical note authorizing a medical leave of absence for an undetermined period. In the days that followed (a whirlwind, really), I met my Pivot Nurse, who gave me a folder with information on the treatments I would be undergoing as well as numerous resources that offered support to persons with cancer.
This is how I discovered the Quebec Cancer Foundation and its many services, one of which, art therapy, immediately grabbed my attention.
And thus it was that every Wednesday afternoon for a period of several months, I excitedly participated in the virtual workshops led by Lucie Sarrasin, a devoted, warm-hearted, and caring art therapist. While the workshops were also available in person, I chose to take part online, as the effects of my treatments, one of which was fatigue, made being able to enjoy the activity at home easier.
The workshops had countless positive effects. Commiserating with other women in my age group who were also facing cancer made me feel less alone and I also made new friends. I was able to give free rein to my emotions through art – my favourite means of expression – and bonded anew with my own creative nature despite the ordeal I was facing!
From the moment I learned I had cancer, I never played the victim. I used every tool I had access to in order to feel better, convinced that a positive frame of mind would accelerate my healing. Becoming healthy again was my number one priority.
“I’m incredibly proud of having kept up my spirits, and know very well that art therapy played a huge role in this. It literally allowed me to transform a negative experience into something positive.”
It is with this in mind that I began wanting to share my vision of this journey. I wanted to offer women, especially those facing cancer, a first collection of inspiring works featuring four courageous protagonists, each one of them personifying an essential quality for overcoming this hardship: courage, determination, strength, and resilience. This led me to want to do still more for the Foundation that had given me so much.
My spouse Jonathan and I thus decided to open an online store, Support by AndreanneGouin, where 10% of the sale of my ROSE support collection will be donated to the Foundation. It’s with a view to mutual assistance that a portion of the profits from the sale of these works of art and other items will be remitted to, among others, the Quebec Cancer Foundation, to whom we are so grateful, and this on behalf of the Grand défoulement à ma façon!