Surviving breast cancer allows designer to thrive

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/04/2010 (4612 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After 18 years of owning and operating Stella’s Bridal Salon, Stella Mazza decided she needed a break from the wedding industry. So she sold the business she started when she was 20 years old in order to refocus her energies on a new venture.

Shortly thereafter, in 2003, Mazza was diagnosed with breast cancer, which took the Charleswood resident by surprise.

“It was a year of radiation, surgeries, loss of hair, mastectomies and reconstruction, so it was definitely very challenging,” said Mazza, who has been married for 27 years and has three children.

Trevor Suffield Stella Mazza is nominated for a YMCA-YWCA Winnipeg Women of Distinction Award that will be handed out on April 28.

“But I did go into it with a very strong attitude that I was going to do my damnedest to get rid of whatever it was and take care of myself and be strong.”

Mazza credits the strength of her family, and a love of beading that she rediscovered during recovery, for helping her beat cancer in 2004.

On the other side of cancer, she has found a new perspective on life and started doing philanthropic work that has culminated in her being nominated for a YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg 2010 Women of Distinction Award.

Mazza created the Princess for a Day event through the Children’s Wish Foundation and Stella’s Cup for the Cure, in which all proceeds from a specially created Rooibos tea go to the Guardian Angel Benefit for Women’s Cancer.

To feed her creative soul, she opened up a boutique at 703 Corydon Ave., called the KaTonGiovi Crystal Collection. The second-floor store features dazzling creations of her jewelry, French-beaded wedding bouquets and evening purses.

It’s for these reasons and more that Barbara Shumeley nominated Mazza in the business and professions category for the WOD awards.

Shumeley met Mazza through her work on the breast cancer volunteer board and saw first-hand how strong she was.

“I totally admire her and she’s one of the few unique persons that I know that truly lives her life to the fullest, and perhaps it comes from being diagnosed with breast cancer,” Shumeley said.

“To me she’s just such a well-rounded person and so creative.”

Mazza’s creativity with French-beaded and Swarovski crystal bouquets has even won her some awards. So she entered the Swarovski Create Your Style Competition awards and came in fifth in 2007 and third in 2008 out of hundreds of worldwide submissions.

Since then, opportunities have been jumping at Mazza left and right, including an opportunity to have creations be part of the Golden Globe Awards gift suite in January, where movie stars such as Neve Campbell, Catherine O’Hara and Ivan Reitman received jewelry.
And she was recently offered the opportunity to spend two weeks in Hollywood accessorizing Sports Illustrated swimsuit models with her body jewelry for an upcoming issue. It would have been great for business for her to go, but the timing wasn’t right and she didn’t want to leave her family for that long.

Mazza’s favourite upcoming project is her daughter’s wedding, which she is arranging.

She admits that her style is a little more flamboyant than that of her daughter, so they’re enjoying finding a happy medium.
The 34th annual YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards sare to be held April 28 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. For more information, visit www.ymcaywca.mb.ca/wod.html.

For information on Mazza’s creations, visit www.stellamazza.com.

trevor.suffield@canstarnews.com

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