Cancer survivor shares her story

After being berated by a stranger for her appearance, a Smithville woman who lost half of her face to cancer has been given new hope. A good Samaritan from Hamilton has made it her mission to help raise money to fund an expensive prosthetic procedure.Ida Deslandes-Guarascia says she often feels like she’s living in a fishbowl, subjected to stares, pointing and occasionally, even rude comments.“We were out one night at a buffet dinner in the falls and one guy came up and said, oh they even let people from the freak show out”.A similar incident happened to her while she was shopping at Foodland in Smithville this weekend. She shared her experience on Facebook, saying a woman walked up to her and said, she should be ashamed of herself, being a woman and going out with a hole in her head.The 60-year-old was diagnosed with cancer 4 years ago and the surgery that saved her life also cost her part of her face. Over the course of 4 years, she’s often had to travel to St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, where she’s had 8 surgeries on her face and countless appointments. Medical costs have depleted the couple’s savings and an expensive prosthetic for Ida seemed out of reach until Sharon Williamson came into the picture.“I thought about it and said you’re beautiful to me, but if this is what you want Ida then I’m going to help you.”Williamson is the founder of Helping Hamilton’s Homeless and says after reading Ida’s Facebook post, she sprang into action. She’s created an online donation page,  hoping to raise $15 000 – $20 000 to help pay for part of the cost of the prosthetic. read more