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Nirit Rozenberg

When Nirit was 9 years old, her parents sat her and her siblings down and told them that their mother, Lynn, had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At that moment, Nirit’s entire life changed. Fortunately Lynn’s cancer was found at an early stage when diagnosed and, after surgery, months of chemotherapy and radiation, she recovered fully. Three years later Nirit’s family celebrated the news that her mom’s cancer was gone for good. But a few months later, Lynn was re-diagnosed and after stepping back into battle with this horrible disease, she died after the cancer spread to her liver. “I was thirteen years old, and had lost the most important person in my life,” shares Nirit.

Nirit describes her mother Lynn as a beautiful woman inside and out. Lynn was always optimistic and genuinely cared about each and every person she met. She taught Nirit to accept everyone for who they are and to always live life with the glass half full. Right before she passed, she told Nirit to always focus on the blessings she had because life is short and there’s no time to waste. Nirit describes her mother’s incredible smile, presence and the impact she made on all of her friends and family. “All I can think about is how lucky I was to have spent 13 years of my life with her,” says Nirit.

After Lynn died, Nirit remembers her family saying that her mom was still there in spirit and would always be with her – difficult to believe for a 13 year old. However, over the past 6 years, Nirit has come to believe that her mother is still truly here in spirit.

After Lynn’s funeral, Nirit’s cousin told her he had noticed a white butterfly flying alongside her family when they were leaving the house to go to her funeral and he saw one weaving its way through the crowd at Lynn’s funeral. Nirit’s cousin said he felt the butterfly was her mother’s presence telling everyone she was still there in spirit. Nirit didn’t think too much about it until white butterflies started appearing throughout her life, whenever she was deeply missing her mom. Nirit recalls playing soccer at her provincial game final and looking out onto the sidelines wishing her mom was there, cheering her on. At that moment a beautiful big white butterfly flew out over the field and she knew her mom was there. Since then white butterflies have been appearing regularly at the kind of family events Nirit’s mother would normally attend.

Nirit decided to see if there was a meaning behind white butterflies. She read that the Greek interpretation of white butterflies is that they represent the soul of people’s loved ones who are watching over them. “It has become such a comfort to me whenever I see a white butterfly,” Nirit shares, “I strongly believe it’s my mom’s way of saying she is still here, watching over us.”

Nirit is studying sciences at McGill University and hopes that she can work towards preventing other people from going through the loss that she has. Nirit says, “Working as a volunteer at OVCARE, with researchers and doctors who are not only the best in their field, but who have also dedicated their lives towards helping women, like my mom, has been such an honour.” Nirit’s mom used to call Dr. Dianne Miller, gynaecologic oncologist and Co-founder of OVCARE her angel; her mom felt she was in the best hands she could ask for. Nirit believes her mother, Lynn, is here in spirit and would be overjoyed that she had the opportunity to work at OVCARE and help raise awareness around ovarian cancer.

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VGH/UBC Vancouver Coastal Health BC Cancer Foundation BC Cancer Agency UBC Faculty of Medicine