Meet the Models: Odessa Amirault

March 6, 2024

Presented by RBC Wealth Management, Wellspring’s Well Dressed for Spring is a fashion event like no other. Hosted by Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker on March 27, 2024, the evening features models who have been touched by cancer, either having been diagnosed themselves or as a caregiver to someone with cancer. For more info, visit: https://give.wellspring.ca/event/welldressed

At just 24 years old, Odessa Amirault, an aspiring runway model, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She was only given 12 months to live.

She was just starting out in her new modelling career. Recently signed to a modelling agency in Toronto, with offers from Milan and L.A, and flying to photoshoots in Miami and the Caribbean, she was living a real-life fantasy. Life couldn’t have been any better.

But as soon as she moved into her new upscale apartment on Bay Street in Toronto, she started to get very sick, and quickly sought medical attention. Shortly after her mother flew in to be with her, Odessa was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the deadliest brain cancer diagnoses to receive. Only five percent of those who are diagnosed make it past five years, and few people on earth are known to have survived it past 20 years.

The diagnosis was devastating for Odessa’s family. Her parents did whatever they could financially to support Odessa through her most challenging chapter in her young life. Her Aunt and one of her closest cousins dropped everything to be by Odessa’s side. Their positivity and support kept Odessa strong throughout the journey, “there was so much laughter!” she says.

Growing up in a small tight-knit fishing community has its perks. When the 2000 residents of Odessa’s hometown, Pubnico, Nova Scotia heard the news of her terminal diagnosis, they all rallied together to fundraise for her treatment. They held social gatherings, raising tens of thousands of dollars which helped to pay for Odessa’s many expensive treatment plans and appointments.

“It’s a tight-knit community. They were all so supportive of me, even holding a mass at our local church. I cannot thank them enough for what they did to help me get through this time,” Odessa says.

Odessa is now 23-years cancer free – a miracle that even the doctors found hard to come to terms with. “They did two surgeries on my brain to remove the cancer, and after the last surgery, they hesitated to tell me I was clear from cancer because they couldn’t believe it themselves,” Odessa says.

While surgery was extensive and had lasting impacts, it hasn’t slowed Odessa down from living life to the fullest and sharing her incredibly positive outlook on life. She was even blessed by the Pope when he came to Toronto. “I can lose my balance and I have serious seizures which are well controlled with medication. My memory is pretty well shot. The parts they removed of my brain affect my speech, and I often can’t recognize objects right in front of me. But I am living proof that miracles can happen and that hope is the most important ingredient to beating cancer.”

Odessa is walking for Well Dressed for Spring to show anyone going through cancer, or even a tough time in their life, that they can make it through the other side and live a fulfilling life.

Odessa is walking in this Wellspring’s 2024 Well Dressed for Spring event.

Donate to Odessa’s Fundraiser

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