Protected: Fostering Hope and Coping While Living With Lymphedema: A Visual Narrative for ...

Protected: Fostering Hope and Coping While Living With Lymphedema: A Visual Narrative for Engaging Cancer Survivors and Caregivers

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Roanne Thomas, PhD

Roanne Thomas is a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Roanne also holds a Canada Research Chair in Creative Practices and Well-being (2011-2021). Using innovative tools such as photovoice (storytelling + photography) and other visual arts, such as mixed media, she and her research teams are helping people to improve their sense of well-being and to support themselves through life’s transitions. Roanne’s research is grounded in the intersections between the social sciences, humanities, and rehabilitation. More information about her work can be found at


Ryan Hamilton, PhD

Ryan Hamilton, PhD is an associate professor of psychology at the University of New Brunswick. His program of research is focused on improving the quality of life for survivors of cancer through applied scholarship. In particular, Ryan is passionate about designing, implementing, and assessing physical activity interventions for individuals who have completed their cancer treatment. Within these interventions, Ryan endeavors to teach psychological skills, provide instrumental and social support, and design creative knowledge translation initiatives (e.g., documentary videos). Current projects are focused on supervised physical activity for men and women post cancer treatment, learning to run after cancer, and fear of recurrence in rural populations.


Gen Allen

Gen Allen is a college graduate, retired government employee, mother of two lovely adults, grandmother to three incredible children, wife of 38 years to a wonderful man, and a new “Mom” to a 17-week-old husky / lab puppy. Having gone through the challenging cancer and lymphedema journey, she wants and needs to share her knowledge and experience to ease the path for others by listening, sharing, providing tools, and empowering them. While starting her fight with cancer in 2005, she began her journey with lymphedema in 2006. In speaking with colleagues, she was encouraged to write her story in the departmental electronic newsletter to help others and bring awareness. In 2007, she wrote “Journey Back” for her department and it was also later published in the magazine Women of Wisdom (April 2007). Later, in 2008, she wrote “Symmetry, body and soul,” also for her department. These stories provided an excellent learning tool for others and opened the door to many conversations. Helping others helped her journey as well. She continually strives to learn as her lymphedema and cancer change, all the while sharing her knowledge and experiences with others while really listening to them and hopefully offering them skills and tools to help empower them and make their journey easier.


Viviane Grandpierre, PhD

In 2018, Viviane Grandpierre finished her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa. In her dissertation research, she focused on culturally competent healthcare. She continues to conduct research on cultural safety in healthcare for Indigenous families. The context of such research inevitably includes the humanities, as well as related scholarship and disciplines. Presently, Dr. Grandpierre is a research coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Canada and continues to collaborate with interdisciplinary research teams.


Josée Boulanger

Josée Boulanger is a PhD candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa whose interests lie in using participatory visual methods to work with people who have cognitive and communication disabilities. She is currently researching the history of intellectual disability advocacy in Ontario as well as exploring a good life from the perspectives of people labelled with an intellectual disability. For Josée, the humanities offer creative pathways to gaining new insights into understanding the human experience and for promoting social justice and equality.


Christine Novy

Christine Novy is a doctoral candidate in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Her background is in the creative arts therapies and her research interest is inclusive communication through the arts in both research and health care practice.


Yvonne Anisimowicz

Yvonne Anisimowicz is working on her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of New Brunswick. Her research focuses on cancer survivorship and well-being, and she is extremely proud of creating the Running After Cancer Experiences documentary with an amazing team of cancer survivors. In addition to her research, Ms. Anisimowicz has a passion for mentorship and has founded a number of initiatives that aim to support students in a collegial environment and provide new learning opportunities for the department. She also has a background as a technical writer, with degrees in anthropology and classical studies as well as psychology, and has long championed the value of good communication skills. With the availability of near-instantaneous global communication and the sheer amount of information accessible now, she believes that being able to accurately and precisely communicate your message is a crucial skill for everyone.


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