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Canadian Czech-Slovak Benevolent Association
ince 1913

My Corner

My “Journey” is nearing the end. 
   “Journey”, what a word to be used in a context of cancer treatment. A word full of promise.  Promise of adventure, of new, exciting and unexpected.  I have never thought I will understand, not yet accept use of this word to describe the time when my life was put on hold by cancer.  I guess, it takes time to see that life’s journeys take many forms.
   Since my disclosure in this column of the devastating diagnoses of last November, to my dismay eight months of my life have already gone by and I am here recovering  from my SECOND LAST chemo-therapy!
   Yes, two more weeks of recovering from this one and it will be again time for the LAST “red devil” infusion!!  However, this time it will be the LAST and I will be able to start looking forward to getting well, regaining my strength, stamina and hopefully resuming normal life.
   After the surgery, and then between the therapies, outright miserable times and not so bad times, I have slowly became aware of my journey taking shape.  I have found myself in search of the answer to the big question WHY?  Why me?  Some people have advised me not to go there, just to accept it.
   There are theories that the endorphins released during the stress in our lives may act as inhibitors of our immune system allowing the cancer cells to suddenly start growing.  Most of the food we put on our tables, our  fuel, source of the nutrients and builder of our immune system, when not chosen carefully is contaminated with chemicals like pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc.. all potent cancerogens. 
   I am not alone on my journey. My husband has joined me early in the process.   He is the one who would research the literature on causes of cancer, cancer prevention including cancer fighting foods and faithfully informs me on each new discovery. 
   Then we would change the way we shop for the groceries and the way we prepare our food.  (One thing is sure, processed food and our shopping card are not on friendly bases any more.)
   Along the way, I have also discovered the best kept secret about the cancer care in Manitoba.  The amazing care and support available to us makes me feel fortunate.  It makes it possible to believe that we will beat this thing in spite of how prevalent the cancer is in our society and we will become survivors. 

Winnipeg, March 15, 2005 -  
    The last few days have been my better days.  Stomach has settled down, I can swallow without searing pain in my throat and my energy level is up finding me spending more time at the computer....   I must be entering the “upswing” of my first cycle between chemotherapies!  Yes, last November the ground fell from underneath me when I was diagnosed with the breast cancer.
     Five  month later (has it really bean five month?) after the surgeries, lengthy recovery and my first chemotherapy session I would like to thank few special women of our community who helped me to get to this point.  My heart felt thank you goes to Betty who visited me every Wednesday, always full of energy and laughs and baking for the holidays.  To Bea who’s meals and baking helped my family to feel it was Christmas in spite of everything.  To Jiřinka and Věrka for fabulous “vianočky” and Slavka for Christmas baking.  To Gitka for visiting me in the hospital and sharing with me most profound outlook on life.  (As well as those Christmas cookies I hope one day she will teach me how to make.)  To Danka for being there for me along the way. 
   Thank you all for being so special and helping me in your unique way to look forward to the future and believe that spring will come for me too.

   And now briefly what is new in the organization:

  • Betty Dorovolny is our new president. Congratulation!
  • The CCSBA just came out of the most successful membership drive in a decade with over 170 registered members with more still coming in. 
  • Annual Fundraising Dinner was a great success. (Follow the above link to great pictures.  Remember that the password is - csba.)
  • Spring Ricka came out last week and we will try to put this edition on line.
  • The fancy, drop down navigation buttons are finally working.
  • Happy Birthday Dianka!!!

Until the next time,

Winnipeg, September 17, 2004

    I could not make it to the picnic last weekend, but I have heard that the food and the beer was great.  Even the weather cooperated! Hope you have made it there.  I will have to definitely reevaluate my priorities...
     I did however manage to stop by at the club this past  Wednesday.  You want believe the change.  The building has a new coat of paint (the light gray with darker trimming around the windows and door) took years of the building. The Association name shines brightly in those close to heart colors of white, blue, and red  proudly calling out “Canadian Czechoslovak Benevolent Association, since 1913”.  Even the neighborhood graffiti “artists” are showing respect keeping their muse at bay and the pristine walls untouched.
     The action however these day is not only at the front of the building.  You must see the back yard!  The work on repairing the foundation has begun.  If you have a chance, go and see the 90 years old foundation being salvaged from completely crumbling away from underneath the building, you must see it.   Looking at the deterioration, I could not help thinking if the $10,000 left from the last year campaign is going to be enough.  Well and that brings me to the point.  Today, I have received a distress call from Danka Orihel.  The  annual fundraising dinner is next week and as usual the reservations are trickling in very, very slowly.  To save the crumbling foundation (and Danka, Verka, Slavka, Pepa and others from graying prematurely) please read her message.  Most importantly, call in with your reservation! 

 “Your presence is important”!

Winnipeg, September 4, 2004

For me this summer has come and gone without much of a splash.....  I was called back to work from my three weeks of holidays after being away only one week. ( What should I say?).....  The rest of the time it rained.... The Heart of Europe Czech and Slovak Pavilion at the 2004 Folklorama was another unconditional success credit to some unbelievable volunteers and performers..... I am still wrestling with restoring this website to the original shape..... (For those who are wandering about the picture above, this is not a picture of the current Board.  I promise to get a better picture of myself.)....  And here it came, interview with Roger Kiska on Slovak Radio. After endless hours of trying to publish the interview and other endless hours spent on line with the technical support, lost formatting of the webpage styles, etc., etc., I have finally figured it out.  The file was 5 times greater than my allowed space on the server.   Well here you go. And for a while I thought I was doing pretty well as the webmaster.  No worry, I will painstakingly figure it out, again.  The good thing coming out of this is that I am able to share with you an insight to this remarkable young man, Roger Kiska. If your curiosity was lit by the interview, you may also find interesting the attached article about him.  Enjoy reading.

 Until the next time!

Winnipeg, September 4, 2004


In May of 2003, Roger Kiska graduated with his Juris Doctorate from Ave Maria School of Law, having studied under such landmark legal minds as former Supreme Court Nominee Judge Robert Bork. The graduation marked the end to a long and arduous academic journey which included a Master’s Degree from the highly prestigious Vanderbilt University in the state of Tennessee.

Mr. Kiska had focused his studies on international law. The choice was a natural one as it reflected his international background. He was born to Slovak immigrants in Canada and grew up in a Canadian Slovak community. He also spent several years studying in the United States, performed missionary work in South America every year, and made multiple trips to Europe, mainly Slovakia to visit family. In the summer of 2002, Kiska earned a prestigious internship with the Strasbourg based European Centre for Law and Justice. With the Centre, he worked on cases before the European Court of Human Rights and with Dana Scallon, Member of European Parliament for Ireland.

Upon his graduation, Mr. Kiska felt compelled to begin his legal career in the country of his roots, and thus secured a legal job with former Prime Minister JUDr. Jan Carnogursky. His work at this office included corporate, employment, civil and contract litigation. Through this office, he also made connections to the political community of the Slovak Republic and began working relationships with Slovak representatives to the European Parliament.

Most recently, Mr. Kiska accepted a full time position with the European Centre for Law and Justice as its Staff Counsel. He will serve as the primary attorney for this office and will litigate Article 9 and Article 9+14 human rights cases before the European Court of Human Rights. He has already begun project work on two major cases, one in the Russian Federation and the other in Bulgaria. He will continue his work with Members of the European Parliament in matters of subsidiarity, national sovereignty, parliamentary competency and health care and family legislation. His primary base of MEP’s will be those from the Slovak Republic who he fashioned a relationship with while working in Bratislava. He is well aware and excited by the fact that he is representing the Canadian Slovak community in these hallowed institutions, and is excited by what the future has in store not only for him but for Slovakia as well, the land of his roots.


Winnipeg, April 24, 2004

The hall was full, the air thick with anticipation.  Legendary Milan Lasica was to make personal appearance at the Club. 

Some of us brought to this evening faint memories from thirty years ago.  Memories of two young students of VUS turning convention inside out in those early sixties, in Bratislava.  I recall my first year at the University of Jan Amos Komenius, in 1964.  I was a first year student at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport (FTVS) thrown into a new level of consciousness amidst this “society with in the society”. I recall the rumors spreading like a brush fire about the two students expelled from the School of Art (VSU).  Over the beer at the pub, we talked about their courage to challenge the status quo, the establishment, about their unpretentious approach to stage performance. Names of Milan Lasica and Julo Satinsky became synonymous with youthful courage to have your own opinion and express it publicly, to differ from the norm, rediscover the ability to laugh at yourself.  Finding a humor as the new liberator. 

In the excitement of meeting Milan Lasica in person, it escaped my fleeting attention that the evening is equally about the work of Peter Hledik the film director, script writer, producer, director of prestigious International Art Film Festival in Trencianske Teplice and his most recent work.

On the onset of the evening, Mr. Hledik briefly introduced his film profiling artistic life of Milan Lasica.  From the immediately recognizable work as the half of the inseparable duo of Lasica & Satinsky, slowly we became to meet Mr. Lasica as an actor, director, and writer. After the film we were treated to a brief opportunity to pose questions to both Mr. Lasica and Mr. Hledik, which were answered with the recognizable sense of humor. 

The subject of the second film greatly contrasted with the one we have just finished watching. For some, the story validated own painful experiences.  For others like me it was revelation of the dark side of the country where I grew up in a sheltered environment.  The film was a personal account of Mr. Hledik’s search for his father.  Search to uncover the reason behind his father’s incarceration in late 1940’s.  We followed his steps visiting the authorities, the cell block where he was held and interrogated. Painful accounts by family members. We have become witnesses to the senselessness of the personal traumas, lost years, lost relationships, the powerlessness of the affected. 

Thank you for sharing it with us.

In the last ten minutes of the evening we were treated to the final television appearance by the second half of the infamous duo, Mr. Julo Satinsky.  I am looking forward to a quiet moment curled up with his book titled “Momentalne som mrtvy, zavolajte neskor”……..

As I am finishing this for posting, I cannot stop thinking how fortunate we are to have had this opportunity created for us by the CCBA Board.  Thank you Danka, Betty, Pepa, and everyone who contributed to this event. 

Until next time!


Winnipeg, April 3, 2004

I have stopped by the Club on Saturday after dropping off my daughter at her home.  It was just ten more minutes out of my way.  This was my first free weekend in last couple of months and I was looking forward to see some familiar faces at the club and meet Ernest. 

The parking lot looked full but I did find a place to squeeze in front of the building.  Walking down the narrow stairway I could hear friendly chatter.  The Club bar was half full.  Few board members were busy reviewing some documents.  Behind the bar Blanka was talking to a couple about their vacation in Cuba.  We exchanged few words and I have placed my order, a tea with double rum.  I could feel a cold coming on……

Ernest spotted me and came to greet me.  We have arranged to meet to discuss the good news.   The governmental agency approved our contractors and gave us a go ahead with the three more projects to finish this stage of renovations of our building.  Last October, Ernest supervised replacement and insulation of the roof.  As soon as the weather warms up the work on repairing the foundation on the West wall can start and by the time the summer comes the building should have a new coat.  All of us can be very pleased.  Between the generous donations from our members and friends, proceeds from Folklorama and the grant from the government our aging club and social and cultural hall is finally, after many years, getting a new lease on life.

One more good news was passed on to me; my application for the Ethno-cultural Community Support was also successful.  Grant in the form of two bingo events was approved and will help to support some of our planned activities.  Bingo volunteers will be needed on May 4 and then one more time later in the fall.

We have also discussed the evening with Milan Lasica.  It will be on April 24.  The Dinner and Movie “Mach, Sebestova and kouzelne sluchatko” with English subtitles will be moved to May 1.  Few members expressed concern about the financial viability of the evening with Milan Lasica.  Let’s hope that the community will come out in full numbers to share the laughs, good time and some first hand account of the accomplishments and adventures of “Lasica and Satinsky” and the evening will at least break even.

Suddenly I have realized that it was almost midnight and time to go home.  Before I left, I was lucky to get my hands on the last two (generous) portions of dinner (moravske ptaky, bramborove knedliky a zeli) prepared by Tonda Hlas.  I wan’t be cooking on Sunday!


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