Mantra: “Don’t let anyone give you an expiration date. Never give up.”
In the end, animals saved Nancy Hutchinson.
Stricken with breast cancer at 42 in 2010, Nancy was devastated by her diagnosis and the subsequent treatment, as well as the financial burden from lost work on her alpaca farm near Oshawa. “We were self-employed. We weren’t ready for it. My husband had to maintain the business and take care of me,” she recalls. “Mentally, I cut out.” Except when it came to her 55 alpacas, two pigs, 10 dogs, two cats, a parrot, and assorted fowl. “The animals were my reason to get up. The day after my surgery, I raked up poop and fed them because no matter what was happening with me, they needed to be taken care of. It was the love of the animals that kept me going.”But that wasn’t the only upside to that dark period of her life, she adds. “I’ve become more spiritual. I’m on a different path. I don’t spend energy on the negative stuff any more. The things that used to bother me? I just don’t focus on them anymore.”