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"Boobie Candles" spark awareness

A new mom diagnosed with breast cancer has an important message to share with young women.

THUNDER BAY – Waxxed Candle Co. raised a total of $4,000 which they donated to the Northern Cancer Fund in honour of Kailey Elvish, a local woman who is currently battling cancer.

“The money goes to a variety of different places within the cancer centre here. So a lot of money will go towards things like screening, prevention, and obviously, treatment,” said Torin Gunnell, TBRHSF digital engagement officer.

Last year, Elvish was happily living her life as a newlywed with a baby on the way, then at only 33 years old, and in the third trimester of her pregnancy, she discovered a lump in her breast.

“I figured it was related to my pregnancy but as time moved on, I knew something wasn’t right,” said Elvish.

Elvish’s son Griffin was born in November of 2021 and in December, she was diagnosed with triple-positive breast cancer after several tests at the Linda Buchan Centre.

Since her diagnosis, Elvish has been encouraging young women to check their breasts regularly and to take action if they sense something isn’t right with their bodies.

“I was always under the impression I was too young for this, but in reality, cancer doesn't care how old you are. It affects younger people too,” said Elvish.

“None of my family has had breast cancer. I’m healthy, so this was something we never expected. There is definitely a need to break the stigma that breast cancer is an older person's disease.”

Elvish was completely overwhelmed by the number of messages she has received from younger local women with similar stories, along with the outpour of community support, which included a customized champagne scented “Boobie Candle” created by Waxxed Candle Co. to raise awareness and funds.

Elvish’s story hit very close to home for Kate Strange, owner of Waxxed Candle Co.

“Boobs, breasts, boobies, hooters, knockers, melons…whatever you call them, we want you to check them. I have family that have had mastectomies and had a recent scare myself. This was an opportunity to produce something that supports others and shed light on a young woman’s cancer journey,” Strange said.

Strange describes the Boobie Candle as an “in your face approach”.

“The candle labels all feature different types of drawn breasts, including the option to sketch your own. We want to make this a comfortable subject for young women to discuss and this is a way to connect. People really care about this stuff, but a lot of the time we're afraid to talk about it," said Strange.

Elvish goes for her fourth round of chemotherapy on March 15 and will have surgery later in the spring.

Elvish normally describes herself as a private individual but she hopes that telling her story can help other women.

“I hope the candles and my story will encourage other women to get screened for breast cancer, learn how to do proper self-exams at home, and also let those who have been diagnosed know that they aren't alone in the fight,” Elvish said.

Local initiatives like these are incredibly important to supporting cancer care, especially in the Northwest region.

“I believe that this community, because we are so isolated, and that there are no big cities around us, that we do need to come together and we do need to put more initiative towards fundraisers and those types of things, said Katelyn Fletcher, special events department, TBDHSF.

“There are a lot of campaigns that we’ve been trying to bring specifically to Thunder Bay because we are the biggest community in Northwestern Ontario and I think that raising awareness for this type of thing, just opens the community’s eyes a little more to what we’re trying to do here.”

Justin Hardy

About the Author: Justin Hardy

Justin Hardy is a reporter born and raised in the Northwest.
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