My name is Sarah Klokkou. You might recognize the last name, and if you do I can assure you it is not because of anything spectacular that I have done in my life…it is because of the insatiable tenacity of my mother: Maria Klokkou, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000.
My Mum and I moved to Canada together, from England, in 1992. She quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the art world, and has been successfully running her art business in Niagara for the past 18 years. For almost two decades she has been a solid supporter of the art community, as well as being dedicated to giving back to society, donating both her time and her artwork to innumerous charities and other local organizations. She teaches art classes from her home studio, mentoring many amateur artists who respect her both for her talent, as well for her seemingly endless energy and love of life. Her patience and ability to connect with people, both young and old, also allows her to successfully teach art to children. Many of these young students have become like second children to her and she has a magical way of helping them to blossom as young artists.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, my Mother’s passion for life grew even stronger. The idea of “not beating cancer” was never even an option. In her opinion, cancer has always been more of an annoyance than a sickness, something that she refuses to let get in the way of the things that she wants to accomplish in her life. She threw herself into finding ways to help fight the disease. She created a pink poppy painting and donated it to the “Life After Breast Cancer” Conference, to use as their logo and as a symbol of hope to all those who continue to fight Breast Cancer. She continuously comes up with new and innovative ways to raise money through her art, to help find a cure. She offers words of encouragement to those in similar situations and has given talks on how to “love life” while living with cancer.
Her tenacity and refusal to be “sick” is both admirable and unbelievable. She is inspirational to those fighting the fight, as well to those fighting alongside them. But no-one can fight cancer alone. You need a whole team: Friends: her magnetic personality has given her the gift of so many loving friends, Family: being from a Greek background we are obviously blessed with a “small village” of supportive relatives, and finally you need a fantastic Medical Team: The Juravinski Centre…need I say more. A fantastic Oncologist, wonderful nurses, specialists, receptionists, ever smiling volunteers and the entire body of committed staff at the Juravinski Centre, have armed my Mother will all of the tools that she needs to continually fight and win her battle. Without all of these support systems…the journey would be so much harder.
I am immensely proud of my Mother and only need to have inherited one ounce of her strength to get through the hardest times in my life. I could not imagine these last 10 years without the Juravinski Centre, a place so full of love and smiles that my Mum and I often joke about how “nice” it is to spend the day there. It is because of this, and for her, that I am participating in the Juravinski Centre’s BRIGHT RUN this year for the fantastic centre that continues to give my mother, and myself, so much care and support.
Please consider donating to help raise funds for Breast Cancer Research and support the many women, including Maria Klokkou, who bravely fight this disease every day. Help us on our journey to Victory over cancer.