It may sound cliché, but it’s true everyone either knows someone, or their own lives have been touched by cancer.
According to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, the disease remains the most common cancer among Canadian women, with one in eight women likely to develop the disease in her lifetime.
It’s something researchers are hoping to change. In the meantime, Marc Poisson and Noel Leboeuf, the owners of the Bell Tower, are focused on celebrating Mother’s Day in a way that will also support women by raising money for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
The Bell Tower is planning two upcoming events. The first is Drag in Your Mothers, the first in the drag series for the year, featuring Chantal Cartier (Poisson). The show is planned for Saturday, May 4, with doors set to open at 7 p.m. and the show starting at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $25 each, and $5 from every ticket will be donated to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. They can be purchased online at www.ticketscene.ca/events/23406/.
“It’s always a great show and it sells out fast,” Leboeuf explained.
Poisson, who has 30 years of experience under his belt as a drag performer, says he has the utmost respect for women and his shows are about celebrating them.
He said cancer has a damaging effect on one’s body, causing hair, eyelashes, and brows to fall out.
“When I go on stage, it takes about two hours to prepare. I do my makeup, wig, everything. When I go on stage, I look pretty,” he said.
Preparing for a drag show causes him to stop and think about what it’s like for a cancer patient who can lose their hair due to chemotherapy treatments. Poison says he literally starts as a blank canvas before he transforms himself into Cartier.
He says he hopes that for at least a few minutes, the show can provide a few laughs and an escape.
The following day after the show (May 5), the Bell Tower will host the third annual Mother’s Day Walk for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the five-kilometre walk will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude with a barbecue and live entertainment.
There is no minimum fee to participate and teams of single walkers and team walkers are needed. Participants are encouraged to walk, stroll or roller blade.
To register for the Mother’s Day walk, visit www.mothersdaywalk.ca or call 1-800-567-8767. Participants are also welcome to sign up on the day of.
Last year’s Mother’s Day events raised about $1,700 and it’s a number Leboeuf said he hopes to beat this year.
“Even if we can beat it by one dollar, I will be happy.”
According to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, each year about 26,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer; about 5,000 women will die from it and 72 Canadian women will be diagnosed with the disease every day.
It’s less common, but about 230 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year and 60 will die from it.
When he was about 14 years old, Poisson had his own scare with breast cancer when he found a cyst that had to be removed and was biopsied to test for the disease. Everything turned out to be fine, but Poisson said it’s important to raise awareness about breast cancer and all other forms of cancer.
“Sometimes men can be macho and think it can’t happen to them, but that’s not true,” Poisson said.