Kirkland resident Olga Assaly wants to inspire people.
And why not? The vivacious Kirkland resident will sign copies of her new self-published memoir, 'The Joy of Cancer' at Chapters Pointe Claire next weekend – a book she hopes will help other cancer patients fight their way through the illness – as she did.
When she was first struck by aggressive stage-2 breast cancer in April 2006, Assaly didn't allow herself to wallow in self-pity and attributes her positive attitude and fighter's mentality to helping her beat the insidious disease.
"When I got sick, I didn't see myself as a victim. People sometimes wonder 'why did this happen to me?' but at the end of the day, I believe all things happen for a reason. I saw it as an opportunity," she said.
Today, Assaly is a personal trainer with no fear of speaking I public – something she couldn't say before she was stricken by cancer.
"A lot of my dreams came true through cancer. I always wanted to speak on stage, but I was scared. When I got a chance to be a spokesperson for (The Canadian Cancer Society's) Weekend to End Breast Cancer, something came out of me that day. I found a way to improve myself," she said. Assaly now mentors cancer patients and says to them the same things she told herself when she was ill.
"I didn't focus on how bad it was; I focused on how good it can be. I embraced positivity," she said, adding that today she counts tons of fellow survivors as friends.
"It feels good knowing that I can help someone. Life is a learning experience. When I got sick, I didn't know the outcome of it – it was pretty aggressive. But I never dwelled on that," she said.
Proceeds from sales of the book will be donated directly to the Jewish General Hospital's breast-cancer pavilion and the MUHC Cedars-Sinai Cancer Centre, Assaly confirmed.
Co-authored by Kim Mecca, Assaly's book, an Iuniverse self-published memoir, is available now for $18.95 U.S. on the shelves of Chapters Pointe Claire. Mecca and Assaly will be on hand to sign copies and answer questions Feb. 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Chapters Pointe Claire, 6321 Trans-Canada Hwy. in Pointe Claire.
For more, visit Assaly's website at thejoyofcancer.wordpress.com