Mother/daughter breast cancer survivors grow cloves for a cause

Mother/daughter breast cancer survivors grow cloves for a cause

As the mother-daughter team operating Ballantrae Garlic Farm in Caledonia, Paula Willinsky and Sarah Freeman have a lot in common – including the fact that they are both breast cancer survivors.

Paula was diagnosed in 2001 and she underwent treatment at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre under the supervision of Dr. Mark Levine.

“I received care from extraordinary people for my radiation, chemo and mastectomy,” she says.

Paula had a second encounter with breast cancer two years later. Luckily, it was discovered at an earlier stage and was treated with radiation. Today, she is grateful to be cancer-free.

Sarah began her own patient journey in 2014.

Sarah Freeman and Paula Willinsky at Ballantrae Garlic Farm
Sarah Freeman and Paula Willinsky at Ballantrae Garlic Farm

“I had a hard time being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42,” recalls Sarah.

After undergoing a partial mastectomy and radiation therapy at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, Sarah is doing well and is scheduled for annual follow-up appointments.

“We’re indebted to the great people who cared for us,” says Paula. “That’s why we’re giving back and have partnered with Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation’s Care4 program.”

Cloves for a Cause is a program created by Paula and Sarah to raise money for various community organizations. Paula and Sarah have established Hope Garden to benefit Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. Hope Garden consists of 20,000 bulbs of rare, gourmet varieties: Violet and Rose de Lautrec from France and Kostyns from Russia.

When you purchase the Hope Garden package of five gourmet bulbs, 50 per cent of proceeds will be donated to Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation in support of Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre and the remaining 50 per cent will be reinvested back into Hope Garden. This includes the replanting of five garlic cloves, so the fundraising will grow year after year.

Tamara Pope, vice president, marketing and communications at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation notes, “we are grateful to Paula and Sarah for their commitment to give back.” Ballantrae Garlic Farm will be selling their Cloves for a Cause garlic online, directly from the farm, and discussions are underway with retailers to carry the product on their shelves.

“Ballantrae is a place for life,” says Sarah. “If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you. We want our land to take care of other people too.”



For more information about the Care4 program, visit