Arax Copeman Honours Her Mother’s Tenacious Spirit Through Charity and Peer Support
When Arax Copeman’s mother, Lucy, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018, they were told she would have a year to live, yet their hope never wavered.
“When we first embarked on this I thought, this is really scary. And there was so little information,” Arax said. “I thought there had to be more out there.”
A Life-Extending Second Opinion
Thankfully, there was. A visit to Princess Margaret Hospital gave Lucy the opportunity to participate in the PCC-funded NeoPancONE trial, which provides chemotherapy to operable patients before and after surgery. In turn, she was gifted three more years of life before her passing in March 2021. “If we didn’t get a second opinion back in 2018, I think I would have lost her much sooner,” Arax said.
Lucy’s family believe her strong, determined spirit is what helped carry her through her three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. A young immigrant to Canada, and a grandchild of Armenian genocide survivors, Lucy had an immense amount of hope that left her doctors in awe.
Arax knew early on that she wanted to honour her mother’s legacy and undying spirit. “We talk about how it takes a village to raise a family. Well, it takes a village to survive cancer,” Arax said. “I think the tenacity for survival and the power of hope is really a symbolic thing that anyone with cancer needs to carry with them, because sometimes that’s all you’ve got.”
For Lucy With Love
Arax started the non-profit For Lucy With Love in November 2021, for which the sales of the signature Lucy’s Willow bracelet and sterling silver pendant necklace are donated to Pancreatic Cancer Canada. She is working towards a $10,000 fundraising goal in her first year. The namesake charm features a willow tree inspired by the traditional ‘Tree of Life’ motif, representing strength, resilience, and family.
By gifting the jewellery to a loved one, she believes her mother’s fierce determination and everlasting positivity will continue to inspire others and help change the trajectory of the world’s toughest cancer.
“If that gives them a little tiny bit of hope, then I’ve done so much towards my goal.”
The Gift of Community Care
Arax’s goal isn’t only to raise funds through For Lucy With Love, she also aims to spread awareness about how the cancer community can support one another. In her family’s original search for answers, she discovered a new opportunity to carry on her mother’s hope and love for community: a role as a Peer Support volunteer in our specialized program with Wellspring.
As someone who always felt drawn to the healthcare field, Arax used her experience assisting Lucy in her cancer battle to help support fellow caregivers and patients in need. This allowed her to eventually complete the training for her role as a Wellspring Cancer Coach. Her ongoing experience with Wellspring has helped her to cope with Lucy’s cancer and taught her some valuable life lessons as well.
“Doing this work and seeing what my mom went through, the biggest transition for me was just to learn how to listen. It’s made me a better learner, a better observer,” Arax explained. “There’s always something bigger than you.”
She feels that being in the support community can be just as rewarding for volunteers as it is for those seeking out their services. For this reason, Arax is enthusiastic about encouraging others to volunteer with our Peer Support program with Wellspring and reach out when they need someone to talk to.