From the Chatelaine team

We were incredibly saddened to hear that our treasured blogger and friend Leanne Coppen passed away on Tuesday.

As writers, the most we can hope for is to open a few eyes with our words – to make an impact. Leanne did this a thousand-fold. With very little promotion, her blog took off like a rocket through cyberspace. Living with Breast Cancer has been Chatelaine’s most successful blog to date and the reason: Leanne’s commitment and eloquence. She shared with us the gory details of her treatment, the pain she endured, and the fear she felt even imagining leaving her daughter. Leanne literally shared everything. Back when she started writing for us in October 2008 Leanne talked about feeling lame, like a “cancer couch potato”, in comparison with the indomitable, energetic cancer superpeople she would often hear stories about. After reading Leanne’s nearly 200 posts it’s hard not to tear up. It’s also impossible not to think of her as one of these superpeople. It takes an extraordinary person to share with the world the heartaches and triumphs that occur while you’re fighting for your life.

Leanne contributed immensely to our online community over the past year and a half with her wit, passion, and the raw honesty of her words. The Chatelaine team, and everyone who connected with her personally through this blog, will miss her dearly.

– Jen O’Brien, Senior Editor


1 Comment

Filed under From the publisher of Leanne's Blog

One response to “From the Chatelaine team

  1. 1.
    41 Responses to “ From the Chatelaine team ”

    In my role at The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, I dealt with Leanne a great deal; both professionally and personally. She was very, very special. Leanne appeared, with her daughter, in a commercial we produced regarding breast cancer rapid diagnosis. There was so much love between the two and their appearance together has been a source of regular comments from viewers who saw themselves in Leanne’s place. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

    By Kevin on Apr 30, 2010

    For funeral details, please see

    By Eden on Apr 30, 2010

    So incredibly sad to lose someone this young and vivacious. Her eloquence, honesty and commitment is as abundant a legacy for her young daughter as anyone might hope. Rest in peace.

    By mondayjane on Apr 30, 2010

    In my reading of the blog, I often thought it was courageous for Chatelaine to be a platform for Leanne’s writings on cancer (and beyond). Your willingness to link arms with Leanne meant much to her and of course to so many who were touched by what she wrote–and may not have otherwise connected with her.

    By Jodi Lastman on May 1, 2010

    We are deprived of a special person. I’ll miss her.

    By David Jones on May 1, 2010

    I haven’t seen her for so many years she was good friends with alot of lovely people i knew in school my sympathy goes out to Leanne and her family i will miss her terribly, she was a lovely strong lady!

    By Lea Kamin on May 1, 2010

    sorry i meant to say Leanne’s family i send my sympathy too sorry Lea

    By Lea Kamin on May 1, 2010

    She will be so missed. Leanne’s energy was very unique. such a great spirit. my heart goes out to her family especially her amazing mother Jann.

    By daniel paquette on May 1, 2010

    What a fearless intelligent loving person.She shared it all with us with eloquence and grace.I have learned so much from her and have the upmost respect for her life and battles.An amazing woman.

    By salah bachir on May 1, 2010

    have been away from my computer for a couple of days, but my thoughts were always on Leanne, always on my mind. So sorry to hear of her passing, my heart goes out to her family, lossing someone so young is so difficult, but I think she might have left you the strength to carry on. My love and support goes out to you.

    By Mary Lou on May 2, 2010

    I feel the need to make a correction to Chatelaine editor’s note above. Yes, Leanne wrote about us” the gory details of her treatment, the pain she endured, and the fear she felt even imagining leaving her daughter” but she also reminded us how much she loved her life (and those in it), and how the cancer bully would never get her too scared to enjoy all it’s parts.

    Her blog was about life first, cancer second.

    By Jodi Lastman on May 2, 2010

    I can’t say anything except that the world has lost a beautiful person. I am so sad.

    By Doona on May 2, 2010

    I just finished crying and am really sad to hear that Leanne is no longer with us.

    I began reading Leanne’s blog a few months after I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I loved the way that Leanne wrote and she was a real inspiration to me. I do admit, reading her posts sometimes made me feel anxious about my own future. Although I never knew Leanne, the more I read, the more I cared about her and wanted her to beat this thing.

    To Leanne’s family, my thoughts are with you.

    By Maureen in SoCal on May 2, 2010

    I first met Leanne around 1994 through her mom Jann who is one of my dearest friends & mentor. I picture Leanne in Jann’s sweet little house in Cabbagetown sitting at the dining room table on a sunday night over a feast of roast chicken, peas & mashed potatoes. I got to know Leanne backstage at all the shows her mom produced and we had a blast…especially when we would immitate Jann’s brit-south african accent…and giggle like little kids. We then worked together at MAC head office for a while in the late 90’s. Through life’s inevitable changes, I didn’t see Leanne for a couple of years but remember the last time I saw her…about 2 years ago on College Street during Taste of Little Italy…a beautiful sunny day with joy in the air…I met Axel for the first time & beautiful Georgia. I will treasure that moment for the rest of my life. Leanne was so beautiful on the outside she was almost intimidating, but when you met her heart…alas, the heavens have a new angel.
    Good bye my friend…you will always be my poo-poo dollface sistah friend.

    By Murray Thunberg on May 3, 2010

    Today I cried for a woman I have never met but feel I know. You will be missed terribly.

    By Angela on May 3, 2010

    So sad that I cannot be there today at the funeral. Sending love and deep, long hugs to Leanne’s family and friends and all my lovin’ to the ESA gang. Love and peace to you all. Celia x

    By Celia McBride on May 3, 2010

    It strikes me that there should exist The Leanne Coppen Foundation whose primary purpose is to help those who have not responded to any of the traditional treatments and have been left to his/her own devices. I know how dumbstruck she was to have hit this roadblock and how angry she was that there was no longer anything in place for her.

    By Celia McBride on May 3, 2010

    Thought you’d appreciate

    By Andrew Giles on May 3, 2010

    I learned of your battle with cancer and your death from cancer all in the same day.
    (Deep Sigh…)
    Shock, deep sadness, and heart break. I regret not knowing sooner…
    Struggling to Find words…

    By Zach on May 3, 2010

    Leanne was a close and dear friend of mine. I was there today, as the balloons were released into the air. And here I am going back over her blog and comments. Reading little snippets, as if that will bring her closer to me. I hope this blog will remain on here for some time. I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there just like me – needing that feeling of closeness. Perhaps the blog will somehow, some day — be made into a book. A book for us all to cherish. Good – bye my dear friend Leanne, until we meet again. It was an honour and a privilege knowing you and we are blessed to have had our lives touched by you… love Lisa and Julian

    By lisa on May 3, 2010

    Unfortunately, I was unable to attend today’s tribute to Leanne. Thank you so much Andrew for the video of the balloons being released, it was so very much appreciated. I spent the week-end printing off every single one of Leanne’s entries in her blog so that I could re-read it over and again…her writing is breathtaking. I was so afraid that her blog would be taken down soon and I wanted to reach out and keep her close for as long as I could. A woman whom I never had the pleasure of meeting but one who changed my life with her courage and kindness. She never gave up…oh, what a role model. Thank you for you Leanne. God bless your family.

    By Sue on May 3, 2010

    My deepest and heartfelt sorrow for the passing of Leanne. This planet has lost another beautiful person, one full of love, wisdom, faith and courage. She will live on in our memories and our hearts, her writings have inspired many people, I being one of them.
    I wish to pass on my condolences to Leanne’s family, and wishing them the best in their time of loss and now healing.
    I scream at the top of my voice at the fraking cancer with all my vulgar words, to leave us alone and never show its ugly face to anyone ever again.

    I’m Free,
    Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
    I’m following the path God laid for me.
    I took His hand when I heard Him call
    I turned my back and left it all.
    I could not stay another day.
    To laugh, to love, to work or play.
    Tasks left undone must stay that way,
    I found that peace at close of day.
    If my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembered joy.
    A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
    Ah yes, these things I too will miss.
    Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
    I wish you sunshine of tomorrow.
    My life’s been full, I’ve savored much,
    Good friends, good times,
    A loved one’s touch.
    Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
    Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
    Lift up your hearts and share with me,
    God wanted me now;
    He set me free.

    All our love and prayer

    Georg Warkus and family.

    By Georg W. on May 4, 2010

    Thank you Andrew, by showing us the little clip of the ballons, it allowed me to be a part of Leanne’s final time with us here on earth. I found it very moving and I hope it gave some comfort to those that were there. I never had the opportunity to meet Leanne in person, but like so many others have said, I felt like I knew her and I enjoyed reading her blog. I will miss her very much.

    Mary Lou

    By Mary Lou on May 4, 2010

    I’m sure there a few bloggers out there who want to know what the service was like. It was beautiful and was finished off perfectly by the balloon release as shown in the video above. The service took place in a small chapel in Mt Pleasant Cemetary. The place was bursting at the seams and you needed to get there 45 minutes early to get a seat. The guests at the funeral were greeted with a picture card with some great pictures of Leanne and her family interwoven with some of her last words. “All of you who have stood by me, propped me up, shouted encouragement from the sidelines, I salute you. I thank you. And I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes!”

    The service started with a couple of Stones tunes, Let it Loose and Shine a Light from the great album Exile on Main Street. Leanne and I talked about our funerals and I always told her I wanted Moonlight Mile by the Stones to be played at mine. So selfishly and as she would say, narcissitically, I hoped her choice of the Stones was in some smart part because she had our conversation in mind. ( I must point out she directed the content of the funeral).

    Leanne requested that her good friend Sharyn sing Together Again by Janet Jackson with another friend Cameron playing Guitar. It was terrific. We then heard heart breaking comments from her brother Shawn her mother Jann and father Hugh and her great friends Angelika and Eden. They were are all poignant and tear jerking reflections and Leanne could not have asked for more.

    We then sang You are my Sunshine. Finally as a testament to her humour the guests exited the Chapel listening to Hall and Oates “She’s Gone”.

    I know the bloggers meant so much to Leanne and I think she would think it only fair that they caught a glimpse of her send off. I love you Leanne.

    By Andrew T on May 4, 2010

    I didn’t know Leanne very well. I work at the restaurant where she would come regularly with her family. From the first time I met Leanne I thought to myself.. “What a wonderful woman, mother and family”. I was shocked to come into work and hear of her passing. Only 2 months ago they were there for lunch and were as bright and positive and happy as ever. I didn’t even know. I still have the picture Georgia and her dad drew for me that day posted on our bulletin board. My deepest condolences to her husband, her daughter and family and friends. A great woman was lost.

    By ashley on May 4, 2010

    Leanne Coppen won many battles but not the war against cancer. I am also a soldier in this war (and I have the scars to prove it)and it is with great sadness to say good-bye to someone who was making such a positive difference and was taken much too early.

    We are better citizens because of her courage and hopefully we can use her graciousness as an example.

    By Nancy Gostick on May 4, 2010

    My sincere condolences to Leanne Coppen`s family and friends. We also know and share the pain of losing a family member to this terrible disease. Exactly 1 week ago today, our 28 year old niece, Meghan, passed away after battling breast cancer since summer, 2008. Please take the time to read her facebook blog “For love of Meghan” and share her journey from beginning to end. It`s worth it!

    By K. Allen on May 4, 2010

    My thoughts and prayers go to out to Leanne’s family and dear friends. We know how much they meant to her. I was privileged to attend Leanne’s funeral on May 3. It was beautiful, funny, so so sad, but a terrific sendoff for an amazingly brave and intelligent woman.

    I read Leanne’s blog infrequently because I found it just too painful and shocking to hear what she was going through. I am happy to have known Leanne in the past, although it has been many years since we have been in touch.

    I think everyone who has shared in reading Leanne’s words must feel that this body of work, her blog, is the best tribute to Leanne and her courageous fight against breast cancer. I’m wondering if others out there believe like I do that this should be published as her legacy, with the proceeds going to fighting the disease Leanne wanted so desperately to defeat. Of course this is a private matter for her family to consider, but I want to offer my support for Leanne’s writing to continue helping others beyond even Leanne’s wildest dreams. She did mention the blog being published some day…

    What if? It could be HUGE! Dream BIG! Leanne did!

    The world has lost a precious angel.

    By Susie Q on May 5, 2010

    I am so sorry to hear of Leanne’s death. I had no idea it would happen so soon. I hadn’t been in touch with her in a few months. We’d talk on the phone and I had given her some tricks for making some unpleasantness more tolerable.
    I send you all a bit of peace.
    How sad.

    Here’s my blog.
    She enjoyed it. Hope you do.

    By Erella on May 23, 2010

    Leanne, we miss you, but we know that you are not suffering any longer and resting in peace!
    The very best to your family and we also hope they know we still think of you and them, your mom, husband and Georgia!Love to all of them! Eva

    By Eva on Jul 10, 2010

    Hi to Leanne’s family,

    Please know that Leanne has not been forgotten. Hope that little Georgia and Leanne’s husband are doing well.

    By doona on Jul 10, 2010

    Even though I’m a stranger that followed Leanne’s blog, my thoughts often stray to how little Georgia and hubby are faring. I *hope* that they are adjusting and coping well.

    Leanne may be gone from here, but she’s not far from peoples thoughts….

    By squiggysmom on Jul 14, 2010

    Hello Friends of Leanne
    I’m her dad (and had to go under this username because, at the very start, she didn’t want comments on the blog to be only from family – which of course never happened!)
    Georgia and her dad are doing OK. Of course, like the rest of us, they miss Leanne terribly. But Georgia’s bubbly, happy nature brings the joy of her mom to us every day. And tonight she’s on her way to France with Leanne’s mom to spend the rest of her summer with her papa’s mom. Thank you all for continuing to check her blog.

    By Sleepless in San Francisco on Jul 27, 2010

    Even a few months later, I continue to wish Leanne was still with us to share her courage, wit and snippets of her day. My thoughts continue to go out to her family. You have suffered a tremendous loss and I am so very sorry.

    By Laura on Jul 28, 2010

    Thank you Leanne’s Father, Sleepless in San Francisco, for sharing an update with us. I think I am not alone in saying I still visit this blog and I feel nice knowing that Georgia is visiting France. Thank you for that.

    By Jen on Aug 9, 2010

    I echo Jen’s thanks for checking in with this community of friends, family & strangers. I can see I’m not alone in revisiting Leanne’s blog – her writing has had a poweful and lasting impact on so many of us. I’m happy to hear that Georgia is spending some time this summer in the loving care of her two grandmothers.

    By Katie on Aug 10, 2010

    Hello again, wonderful army of supporters of Leanne’s blog,

    Thank you for continuing to check in to her blog and for your kind words. We really appreciate you.

    You may remember that last September, even though her cancer had metastasized, Leanne and her friends Angelika and Sharyn walked the 60km Weekend to End Women’s Cancers in aid of Princess Margaret Hospital.

    Leanne immediately entered a team again with herself as Captain. Leanne is still registered as a walker, but her mom, Jann, has taken over as Captain (and Angelika can’t walk as she’s expecting her first baby that weekend). So far there are ten team members in the ‘Cancer is Crap’ (Leanne’s own phrase) team.

    If you’d like to contribute please go to the team page When you get there, you’ll see Leanne’s original message when she set the team up. Please select a team member’s personal page (yes, you can select Leanne’s) to make your donation.

    Again, on behalf of the family, thank you for the wonderful encouragement and support that you all gave to Leanne – it meant so much to her and to all of us.

    By Hugh Coppen on Aug 12, 2010

    The organizers of the walk have allowed me to complete the walk that Leanne was denied. So please go to her personal page to donate.
    I am so thrilled to be able to honour Leanne’s commitment to this great cause by literally walking for her next month.

    By Hugh Coppen on Aug 16, 2010

    Thinking of you alot tonight Leanne..Your Obit is still on our fridge. I would give anything to talk to you right now..I’m looking forward to our walk next month with Dadds and Jann. Listening to Let it bleed as i type..we all i need somebody to dream on…….

    love you leanne


    By Andrew Turner on Aug 17, 2010

    Hello to Leanne’s family and friends,

    I was a follower of Leanne’s blog, although I didn’t come across it until Dec. 2009 when I was in the middle of chemo for my own Her2+ breast cancer. I read her entire blog in one afternoon and continued to faithfully read her posts up until the very last one. She wrote about what it was like to have cancer like no one else, she was just so honest and such a damn good writer! I could also relate to her posts being only 37 years old myself and the mother of two little girls.

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I just finished the Vancouver Weekend to End Women’s Cancers as team captain of the “Cancer is Crap!” team. I signed up with four of my best friends shortly before Leanne passed away. I couldn’t come up with a name for my team and her phrase just resonated with me. We ended up raising over $13,500.
    It was an amazing and cathartic experience and I wish your team “Cancer is Crap” all the best in September when you walk in her memory.


    By Andrea on Aug 17, 2010

    Andrew, looking forward to walking with you next month – and thank you for your love and support of Leanne. Thanks too for Leslie for taking on the T-Shirt design for the “Cancer is Crap” team!

    Andrea, Congratulations on your walk in Vancouver and best wishes for great results from your own treatment for your HER2+ breast cancer. I’m so glad that Leanne’s writing resonated with you like it did with so many others. You have no idea how the pride I have in Leanne when I read something like you wrote helps offset the pain of losing her.

    Hugh (Leanne’s Dadds)

    By Hugh Coppen on Aug 20, 2010

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