Ninon Bourque (1955-1997)

One of CBCN’s Founders

Ninon Marie Bourque was born on June 22, 1955 in Ottawa. Her passing on October 21, 1997 of complications relating to breast cancer was met by all with great sadness and a profound sense of loss.

A devoted mother and wife, loving sister and daughter and loyal friend and outstanding public servant, she was also a dedicated breast cancer activist. Her determination to make a difference in the lives of others led her to play a leading role in bringing the needs of cancer patients and survivors to national attention.

In November 1993, Ninon made an important contribution to the success of the groundbreaking National Forum on Breast Cancer, serving as a spokesperson for breast cancer survivors. In 1994, Ninon helped establish the Canadian Breast Cancer Network and served as its first chair. As a member of the Management Committee of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative (now Alliance), she won praise for her ability to articulate the needs of cancer patients in shaping future research priorities.

Whether at the committee table or in speeches delivered across the country, Ninon’s messages were clear and simple. Breast cancer patients as well as survivors of all types of cancer, are searching for the knowledge to heal. They need access to relevant, understandable and timely information on prevention and healing. Healthcare consumers are demanding empowerment. But more often than not the information they need is difficult to obtain or difficult to understand. As consumers, they find great gaps in the information available to them.

Ninon advocated the need for champions of a holistic approach to health, focused on wellness, prevention and increased patient involvement. Ninon herself was one of those champions, although she had only a few short years to apply her skills to this cause. She practiced what she preached. She took charge of managing her own health and became highly knowledgeable about her disease and related treatment options. This helped her face the challenge of cancer. Ninon developed a true partnership with her oncologists and integrated complementary approaches, such as acupuncture, diet, exercise and psychological and spiritual growth into her treatment plan.

Ninon’s courage and vitality, her powerful desire to assist others, and her vision of a healthier future for those living with cancer provided the inspiration for the establishment of a patient resource library at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre – General Campus. The Ninon Bourque Patient Resource Library offers cancer patients and their families improved accessibility to the information the need to meet the challenges of cancer.

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Last updated: February 9, 2011