Publishing stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver - author, editor, and publisher of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan. We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also publish genres of healing and wellness, humour, children's fiction, and rural poetry. Visit our website to learn more about our books.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Sad news - Passing of 9-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner

Beautiful, extraordinary, fun-loving, nine-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner passed away on Monday, February 1, 2021. She was 55. Her husband, Graham, shared this eloquent obituary. It will come as no surprise to anyone who knew Dionne that she co-wrote her obituary with Graham, and she also made decisions about what her last day on Earth would look like.

Dionne Warner was a remarkable woman. Strong. Courageous. Inspiring.

Since her first cancer diagnosis in 1995, Dionne chose to be upbeat, positive, and grateful for every moment of every day. Through eight more diagnoses over the next 25 years, Dionne shared her hope, laughter, courage, and strength with thousands of people in Canada and around the world. With every new diagnosis, she gave herself 24 hours to say, "Why me?" and then she focused on "Why not me? And what am I going to do about it?"

Dionne Warner, Never Leave Your Wingman book subject
Dionne Warner went into her first chemotherapy treatment
for her Stage IV cancers dressed up and ready to fight, Dec. 17, 2009

I am honoured to have written and published part of her story - up to her seventh cancer diagnosis - in Never Leave Your Wingman - Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope. This book is a book of hope, courage, laughter, and love. It will live on for generations, and I am very proud to have put it out into the world for all to enjoy.

Author Deana Driver with Dionne and Graham Warner at one of Dionne's chemo treatments, July 2010
Author Deana Driver with Dionne and Graham Warner at one of Dionne's chemo treatments, July 2010

Author Deana Driver with Dionne and Graham Warner at the book launch for Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope, June 16, 2011
Author Deana Driver with Dionne and Graham Warner at the book launch
for Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope, June 16, 2011

Dionne and Graham Warner dance into one of Dionne's chemo treatments, July 2011
Dionne and Graham Warner dance into one of Dionne's chemo treatments, July 2011

I will always cherish the many hours of sitting with Dionne at book signings and laughing and laughing - with each other and with folks who stopped to buy the book or just visit with us. Weird for a cancer story, I know, but that was Dionne's story and that's how we approached this adventure. Those 24 hours of feeling sorry for herself had long passed.


Dionne Warner and Deana Driver at a Never Leave Your Wingman book signing, Feb. 7, 2013
Dionne Warner and Deana Driver at a
Never Leave Your Wingman book signing, Feb. 7, 2013

Dionne Warner and author Deana Driver at a book signing, "Movember" 2016
Dionne Warner and author Deana Driver at a book signing, "Movember" 2016
Dionne's story has helped many people during their cancer battles. This includes my family as we lost my mother and then my husband to cancer. I shared Dionne's story with my mom while I was finishing writing the book in 2011, and Al quickly decided he would "fight like Dionne" when he was diagnosed in 2015. Many of us gained strength and courage from Dionne's story. Knowing her story took away some of the fear and brought us more peace on that path. I will forever be grateful to Dionne for showing us the way.

We all need hope. We all need love. We all need courage. We all need laughter. This was Dionne Warner to the core.

There is a moving poem about what cancer cannot do. It was read at my husband's memorial service and it applies again and again. Paraphrasing the pieces of one version that speaks to me today: "Cancer cannot cripple love... shatter hope... kill friendship... shut out memories... silence courage."


Cancer can never take away Dionne Warner's "Live your life to the fullest - No regrets!" mantra or the exuberant "Woo Hoo!' that marked her entrances and celebrations. It will never diminish the good work she did in raising funds for cancer research or in raising the spirits of thousands of cancer patients and their families. Many will remember that forever.

I extend my deepest condolences to Dionne's wingman, Graham, and their family and friends. Dionne was much loved and will be sorely missed.

Fly high and free, Angel D. Thank you for the light you shone in our lives. We will never forget you. We will continue to carry that light for you.

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Buy the Never Leave Your Wingman book from DriverWorks Ink
Buy the e-book: KoboAmazon Kindle
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An article in the Regina Leader-Post on Dionne Warner's passing
An article by CBC Saskatchewan on Dionne Warner's passing


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