Dionne’s story is one of overcoming the odds, beating cancers of the breast, then brain, and then two bouts of liver cancer before spending seven years volunteering at the Allan Blair Cancer Clinic in Regina. During that time, she helped hundreds of patients through their treatments by sharing her positive, never-give-up attitude, and encouraging them to continue to fight this disease.
In December 2009, Dionne was diagnosed with Stage IV cancers in her liver, lungs and bones. She began dressing up in costume each week for her chemotherapy treatments and before long, she and her husband – her wingman – Graham, began to both dress in costume and dance into chemo as music played to accompany their themes.
|Dionne Warner’s first costume/theme, Dec. 2009|
I met Dionne and Graham in June 2010 and knew instantly that both of them were worthy of a book. It would be an inspiring book about this amazing couple and their never-ending, positive attitudes that showed their commitment to doing all they could to beat this disease and bring hope and laughter to others in the process.
I promised Dionne and Graham at our first meeting that I would write their story and publish a book about them and their journey by the following June – which I did. The result is Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner’s Story of Hope.
The book has become a national best-seller in Canada, with copies also being purchased by readers in numerous countries around the world. It’s also in an e-book format, available from your favourite e-book retailer. Never Leave Your Wingman won an Honorable Mention in the Biography category of the 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival in Chicago, and continues to sell well and spread the Warners’ story of hope with all who read it. We repeatedly hear stories of how the book has helped cancer patients and their families, and many readers who have no connection to cancer, live happier, healthier lives by focusing on the positive and taking control of their own health.
Dionne has been a fan and supporter of the Look Good ... Feel Better campaign since shortly after she beat her second cancer. Here’s an excerpt from the Never Leave Your Wingman book:
In October 1997, a little more than a month after her second brain cancer surgery, Dionne attended a half-day workshop with the Look Good … Feel Better program, an initiative of the cosmetic, toiletry and fragrance association to help cancer patients feel better about themselves. She was also interviewed and photographed for a story in the Summer 1998 issue of Images Magazine, which was available through the Shoppers Drug Mart stores. In the photos, the beautiful bald-headed Dionne showed how to wear hats and scarves to feel more comfortable as a woman undergoing cancer therapy. Her husband was beside her in one of the photos and the headline read: ‘The Power of love – Dionne faced cancer twice in two years and beat it both times’.
Dionne spoke about her struggle to feel attractive after her initial hair loss with the breast cancer chemotherapy and how she gave up all attempts to try to improve her appearance. “I felt so unattractive. I thought, ‘Why bother with makeup?’ So, if I had to go out, I’d just put on a hat and that was about it.’ The support and love from her husband, family and friends helped her to overcome her own insecurities as she healed from her surgeries, she said in the article. “Dionne decided to attend a Look Good…Feel Better workshop because she knew she needed something to make herself feel better. And, in October 1997, actually on the day before she was photographed for the Look Good…Feel Better magazine, she went,” said the magazine article.
“At the workshop, I put on one of my hats because my head was cold, and everyone commented on it! It’s a real thrill that I was asked to be the hat model for the magazine, because I’m a hat collector – I have about 30 different types of hats,” she says. “I feel so much better about myself; the workshop really made a difference to me.”
Dionne had learned about the Look Good … Feel Better program through the cancer clinic. In the article, she encouraged all other cancer patients to attend a workshop, use the products in the gift box provided for participants, and start feeling better about themselves. “Thanks to Look Good … Feel Better, my skin is incredible, I feel great and everyone tells me I look good, too. It’s a wonderful program, and I know that anyone who participates will feel the same way!”Dionne has supported the program since then and credits it for helping her to maintain a positive attitude while she goes through her cancer treatments.
In November 2014, Dionne was called upon again by her friends in the Look Good ... Feel Better program to share her story in a huge, inspiring way – through their new Beauty Gives Back campaign.
Once you’ve recovered from watching the inspiring video above, we invite you to view the City TV Toronto news clip of the launch of the campaign at the 2014 Mirror Ball charity fundraiser in Toronto, Ontario.
We’re sure you will agree that Dionne Warner is an amazing, inspiring, walking miracle.