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  • Writer's pictureItsik Romano

Handling tragedy: How a local mom found herself after her son was diagnosed with cancer

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Two years ago today, was the beginning of the last week of "normal" before the Coronavirus pandemic took the globe by storm and drastically altered the reality of everyone around the world.

COVID-19 has challenged every person, far and wide. That said, for some, 2020 brought further, more pressing challenges, which the pandemic only exacerbated.

At the onset of 2020, Angie Schizas' toddler Brandon was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma: a rare cancer that forms in nerve tissues, usually in children under the age of 5 (SOURCE). For most, masking up, social distancing, and wiping down groceries with Clorox wipes was at the forefront of their minds. But for Angie, hospital stays, treatment plans, and meetings with specialists were her focus.

"You know, all the regular COVID restrictions and health concerns people were facing - we had to worry about times ten."
- Angie Schizas

But both Angie and Brandon's stories do not end there.

Halfway through Brandon's treatment, Angie set up a non-profit organization, @brandonsbuddiesmtl, which aims to support and give back to the pediatric oncology department at the Montreal Children's Hospital. Through fundraising initiatives and partnerships, Angie and her loved ones have raised roughly 9000$.

Brandon has since endured surgeries, scans, COVID tests, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and a stem cell transplant. Today, he is in remission.

As you can likely imagine, having a sick child is all-consuming. Your every thought and action revolves around caring for and tending to your child. Every conversation sounds like "how are you doing?" and "oh your son has cancer? I'm so sorry..." As her son's illness dissipated, Angie began to grapple with a loss of identity.

"Eventually all of your conversations become consumed with cancer. I wanted to find a space for myself where my son's cancer was no longer the focus."
- Angie Schizas

You may be wondering how Angie came to find herself again. The answer? Eyelashes.

Tori Belle Cosmetics launched in Canada throughout the course of the pandemic. The brand is famously known for its false eyelashes and magnetic eyeliner, but also offers a variety of other products. With the hopes of branching out and meeting new people, Angie became a representative of the company and has never looked back.

"I was suddenly surrounded by a group of like-minded women who wanted nothing more than to lift me up and celebrate one another."
- Angie Schizas

Notably, Tori Belle Cosmetic's founder Laura Hunter is the inventor of magnetic eyeliner. Hunter founded Tori Belle® on the ideals of opportunity, inclusivity, and community. (SOURCE)

West Island News' Morgan Weinmeister had the opportunity to sit down with Angie and talk about her son's journey, and her experience with Tori Belle Cosmetics. Morgan got a 1 on 1 tutorial on how to apply the famous magnetic lashes. Continue below for the full interview.

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