Your Impact - Ida Albo’s Story
"My scars remind me that I am alive and well,” says breast cancer survivor Ida Albo.
Not once, but twice. 

That’s how many times I’ve heard a doctor say to me: "You’ve got breast cancer.”

The first time was about 11 years ago. It was devastating news, of course, but in the grand scheme of things I was fortunate. It was caught early. Surgeons removed a lump. I didn’t need chemotherapy, I didn’t feel ill, I didn’t lose my hair. Life went on and I didn’t skip a beat. For four-and-a-half years.

The second diagnosis was more unsettling. It was still caught early, but when breast cancer returns, you begin to wonder how aggressive it is. Will it come back again? Will I catch it soon enough next time?

And so with growing children and a new business about to launch (Yoga Public), I decided to have both of my breasts removed. A double mastectomy. Without breasts, there can be no breast cancer.

Ida Albo, a grateful patient, HSC Foundation donor,
and owner of Yoga Public practises the Cobra pose.

The decision was easy for me, but the wait was difficult. Seven weeks of stress and anxiety before I was admitted for surgery. 

I was in the very capable hands of HSC’s Dr. Edward Buchel, an internationally recognized pioneer in breast reconstruction. In the same operation, both breasts were removed and immediately reconstructed using fat from other parts of my body. I awoke from surgery with new breasts and with new hope.

This groundbreaking procedure has dramatically increased the number of patients having breast reconstruction surgery, but the space and resources needed to complete their reconstruction after surgery are not fully in place. Many patients have to wait more than two years to finish the process in crowded clinics with minimal privacy. That’s two years of pain, worry, wound care, and compromised self-esteem.

Fortunately, a solution is on the horizon and as HSC Foundation donors, we can make it a reality.

Ida Albo with Dr. Ed Buchel: "Dr. Buchel and his colleagues are devoted,caring, and simply brilliant. They save lives.”
With your support, HSC can redevelop its Plastic Surgery Clinic, including the construction of a new Procedure Room. The redeveloped clinic will be equipped to meet the needs of breast reconstruction patients along with patients dealing with a wide range of cancers, burns, and traumatic injuries. The new clinic and Procedure Room will shorten wait times and reduce the burden on the hospital’s conventional operating rooms.

Dr. Buchel and his colleagues are devoted, caring, and simply brilliant. They save lives and they make lives better. They deserve the best possible space and equipment to perform their work and make a difference for their patients.

After my surgery, I needed many appointments and procedures to have fat added to parts of my breasts and to have my nipples reconstructed. I have a few small scars, but when I see them I am reminded that I am alive and well. A survivor of breast cancer. A very grateful person. And a proud supporter of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation.

As a former patient and donor myself, I urge you support the redevelopment of the Plastic Surgery Clinic now.

You can change the face of health care in Manitoba. That is a great privilege and an important responsibility. 

I wish you well,

Ida Albo