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“Tomorrow morning I will not have cancer anymore.”

October 16, 2023

Andrée-Anne Boisvert’s battle with—and victory over—cancer.

Andrée-Anne Boisvert

Andrée-Anne Boisvert: “…there is a unique warmth in Manitoba… I experienced that first-hand from my hospital bed.”

“This is my last day with cancer,” I said to myself as I drifted off to sleep the night before my surgery. “Tomorrow morning I will not have cancer anymore.”

It’s perfectly natural to be at least a little bit afraid—or even very afraid—before major cancer surgery. There were times before surgery when I felt that my life would never be the same again. But mostly I felt safe that December night in 2021. I felt protected. I felt comfortable and cared for at HSC Women’s Hospital, confident that I was in excellent hands with my surgeons Dr. Erin Dean and Dr. Alon Altman.

Major surgery, including a radical hysterectomy, was the only possible solution for the stage 3B cervical cancer that had been diagnosed just a few months earlier. Chemotherapy and radiation knocked the heck out of me and, well, didn’t work. Cancer’s job is to grow, and it did. My job was to fight, and I did.

I was at HSC Women’s Hospital for a total of 18 days; three days before surgery and 15 after. I can’t think back on my experience without getting emotional—not because of the life-altering nature of my surgery, but because of the compassion that defined my care. I knew the doctors, nurses, aides, and staff were working under tremendous stress through COVID-19, but you could hardly tell. When they were with me, all that mattered to them was my recovery and my well-being.

Andrée-Anne Boisvert

Andrée-Anne Boisvert had major surgery at HSC due to stage 3B cervical cancer.

There was Eddie, the aide who came by every day to ask me if I wanted to go for a walk (asked in a way that I knew I didn’t really have a choice!). There was Quinnie, another aide, who brightened my days with upbeat conversations about what she was cooking for her son’s birthday—always with a smile on her face. There was Nicole, my usual night nurse, who treated me with such skill and warmth.

And when my partner (Louis) and my dad (Ghislain) came to visit, the staff stopped by more than once to see if they needed anything. The people at HSC Women’s Hospital simply know that a patient’s recovery is a team effort. My dad has since passed away. When I look back on my illness, I can’t imagine the sadness and fear he must have felt. I’m so grateful that the nurses and aides tried to ease his pain. I cry a little when I think back about that. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s not.

After my discharge, my complete recovery took about four months. It was pretty serious surgery, but it was effective. I’ve been cancer-free for two years, and I feel great. In fact, as you are reading this, I might be doing Pilates or taking a chilly hike in a park.

Andrée-Anne Boisvert with her partner Louis

Andrée-Anne Boisvert with her partner Louis at her recovery party: “…I feel nothing but immense gratitude for the people at HSC.”

Sixteen years ago, when I was just 22, I left my home in Quebec to get a master’s degree in English in Winnipeg, with a focus on prairie literature. My plan was to be here for two years, but I haven’t left. Manitoba is home. Like the literature of the prairies, there is a unique warmth in Manitoba, and there’s character, and there’s authenticity. I experienced that first-hand from my hospital bed.

Each and every day since my surgery, I feel nothing but immense gratitude for the people at HSC. I express that gratitude by financially supporting the HSC Foundation. With the support of Manitobans like you and me, the HSC Foundation can fund the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment and the upgrading of facilities. With your support and mine, Dr. Dean, Dr. Altman, Eddie, Quinnie, Nicole, and everyone else at Manitoba’s hospital can do their best work and provide the best possible care. I have also decided to leave a gift to the HSC Foundation in my will. Thanks to the expert care I received, I can realistically envision that they won’t actually receive that gift for a very, very long time.

Andrée-Anne Boisvert

Québec-born Andrée-Anne Boisvert received life-saving care at HSC: “I’m so glad I chose Manitoba all those years ago.”

I’m so glad I chose Manitoba all those years ago. There is something special here. With your support of the HSC Foundation, we can strengthen and enhance this remarkable place.


Thank you for your consideration.

Andrée-Anne Boisvert


P.S. If you or your loved one has been touched by the exceptional care at Manitoba’s hospital—like I was—please join me in being a donor!