To pay attention to our lives is to engage in self care. Columnist Ellen Bard writes that “self care is the constant repetition of many tiny habits, which together soothe you and make sure you’re at your optimum—emotionally, physically, and mentally.” Stephanie Irwin is no stranger to self-care as a cancer diagnosis at the age of 27 forced her to really pay attention. She makes it a point to take time out of her busy day, every day, to focus on "me time". This could be a yoga routine, walking her dog on a nature trail, or creating art and painting. “Me Time” allows Stephanie time to think and plan her day while clearing her head of negative thoughts and pumping herself up with the strength to face another day.
Stephanie’s story of how she dealt with her cancer diagnosis in an inspiration for us all. In 2017 she was dedicated to school, studying social service work, and feeling excited and passionate to learn. However, during her second semester she started to get sick.Stephanie tried to push though but ended up going to a specialist for abdominal pain which lead to the discovery of a 9 cm ovarian cyst. After surgery and a few weeks of recovery she was back in school again determined as ever to earn her degree for a new found passion. But with one semester left before graduation she fell sick again. Testing discovered that her cyst had come back and was larger than before. That’s when she was told that she had cancer. Understandably the diagnosis and the need for another surgery caused her to withdraw from the people around her and left her at a low point in her life. It was then that she learned how important it is to have support especially during your darkest storms. With the love of her family, best friend, and boyfriend (now fiancé!) she beat cancer and managed to graduate, with honors, cancer free!
Living With Purpose
Stephanie is continuing her studies with the goal to of becoming a Psychiatrist so that she can be the person to listen and sit beside someone no matter the circumstance. She believes that everyone should feel heard, supported and understood.
She sees that while there is a hero inside all of us that even heroes need someone to turn to when it starts to rain. She is that someone now and wants to continue to be that someone as her career path grows.
Making an Impact
Stephanie learned first hand how powerful and important a good support system is to our health and well-being. She make it a point to be there for people. It’s really important to remember that everyone is fighting their own battles and that some people don’t always show the struggles they are dealing with. Stephanie is the kind of person who will take the time to listen and give emotional support whenever needed. No matter what the issue may be or how dark a person's thoughts are she is willing to give her undivided attention that accept people for who they are no matter what they are going through. Stephanie is proud to be “that friend who will sit in the dark with you until your ready for the light again.”
Stephanie, a native of Ontario, will be donating the proceeds from her “Withstand the Storm and Shine” collection to the Canadian Cancer Society.