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Never Leave Your Wingman

Never Leave Your Wingman

No relation

DriverWorks Ink

Driver, Deana J.




2015-06-29 21:13:06: Nomination was created
2015-06-29 21:17:10: payment successful from Paypal (order 108)

Deana Driver

Author & publisher

DriverWorks Ink

Feature film


Deana Driver (dee-na) is a journalist, author, editor, and book publisher in Regina, Saskatchewan. She has been a freelance journalist for more than 30 years and began her publishing company, DriverWorks Ink, in 2008. Never Leave Your Wingman is her fourth book as an author.

National bestseller (6,000+ sold); readers internationally have purchased online; book was awarded Honorable Mention in Biography at 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival. Subject Dionne Warner, a seven-time cancer survivor now fighting her eighth cancer, has been interviewed on Canada AM & by many other media; was named an International Hero of Hope by American Cancer Society; won a local Woman of Distinction Award; is the face of Canada's 2015 Look Good ... Feel Better Beauty Gives Back campaign; had 1.4M hits on CBC-TV National's Facebook link to their story of her husband's large pink hope-themed tow truck in her honor.

Seven-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner and her wingman husband Graham dress in costume and dance into her chemotherapy treatments, sharing laughter and hope with all.

Dionne Warner is a beautiful, seven-time cancer survivor who lives her life boldly, with enthusiasm and joy. She encourages everyone, whether fighting cancer or not, to live life to the fullest and never lose hope. At age 30, Dionne beat breast cancer. Two years later, she beat brain cancer. Graham Warner wooed Dionne to Saskatchewan from Ontario. He told her it never got below minus 10 in Saskatchewan, so there is a lot of humour in their lives. Graham proposed to Dionne in a unique, never-to-be repeated since 9/11 way, while she was in an airplane and he was on the ground. Shortly after, Dionne developed liver cancer. She told Graham he did not have to marry her. She would go home to Ontario and her family and oncologists. He replied, "You never leave your wingman." They battled her two bouts of liver cancer together. She volunteered for seven years at the cancer centre in Regina, then was diagnosed in 2009 with Stage IV cancer of the liver, lungs and bones. She began dressing in costume, for 100+ themes, and dancing into chemo, with Graham at her side, to share laughter, joy and hope with everyone she met.

Dionne Warner found her breast lump one week before her first wedding, three weeks before she turned 30. She was estranged from her mother and brothers but supported by her father, an aunt, cousins, and friends. Two years later, she beat brain cancer, then divorced. Her first husband called her “damaged goods.”
Graham Warner was reeling from the end of his first marriage when he reconnected with Dionne after knowing her for years through Freightliner Trucks. Graham recalls falling for Dionne the first time he met her, feeling he had married the wrong person, but he did not act on that feeling until after his marriage ended 20 years later. He flew to Toronto and wooed Dionne. He arranged for the airline’s pilot to broadcast Graham’s marriage proposal over the plane’s loudspeaker while Dionne was flying to Regina. Graham had also won an airplane in a writing contest by pretending to be Amelia Earhart's husband. When Dionne was diagnosed with liver cancer, her family asked her to return to Ontario. Graham's "wingman" statement caused her to know she should stay. Her cancer fight continues, with amazing courage, strength, love, unfailing optimism and hope.

dealing with a cancer diagnosis, cancer survival, humour, laughing in the face of cancer, undying love, commitment to your partner, health issues, disease, the power of the human spirit, overcoming obstacles, fighting back from illness

Breast cancer: Dionne Walford discovered a lump while trying on her wedding dress. After her honeymoon, a second opinion saved her life. Brain cancer: She had a seizure while talking on the phone. Dionne dragged herself to the door and opened it to get help.
Graham sat on the floor of his empty house after his marriage ended. He found a note Dionne had sent him years earlier. He flew to Toronto, then orchestrated a mid-air proposal. Stage IV: The couple wore 100+ costumes, got treated in Mexico, and Dionne continued volunteering & speaking to share her story of hope.

Male Tweens
Female Tweens
Male Teens
Female Teens
Men 18–34
Women 18–34
Men 35-54
Women 35–54

The Love Story, except Dionne is very much alive still. She's fighting her eight cancer diagnosis, this time in her liver, and is speaking with Look Good ... Feel Better all across Canada, continuing to share her story and hope while fighting her own cancer.
The airplane scene is reminiscent of that in The Wedding Singer, with unsuspecting Dionne bumped up to first class seats by the crew, the pilot relaying Graham's proposal while in the air and Graham standing in the Regina airport's control tower, anxiously awaiting her reply. The airplane unloaded everyone before Dionne, so all could watch.


The waiting room of the Allan Blair Cancer Clinic in Regina, Saskatchewan is quiet on this sunny August day. It’s almost noon and a handful of people are sitting in comfortable chairs, wondering what their doctor will tell them or what their latest test results will show.
Is the tumour still there?
Has it grown?
How am I going to tell my family?
How long do I have?
Suddenly, there is a commotion around the corner in front of the admissions desk. A song is playing very loudly – a country song – and into view comes a strikingly beautiful woman in a cowboy outfit, riding on a man’s back, shouting “Woo Hoo!” at the top of her lungs.
She’s swinging a lasso and yelling, “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy!”
What the heck is going on? This is a cancer clinic.
The patients who come here are very ill. They seldom smile and they NEVER cheer.
Obviously, no one told that to DionneWarner.

Dionne – Growing Up
Dionne laughs when she thinks back to some of the events she organized at Freightliner’s corporate office in the 1980s and 1990s. “I enjoy getting people together and having fun. Any way you can get people together and get the right music, pull out a theme or do something like that, I enjoy that so much. I’ve always been that way. I’m a games person all the way.”
The objective of the games was always to have some fun while building camaraderie within the workplace. When participants have to put an object down their top or bring it up through their pant or skirt, “even the shyest person gets pulled into this,” she says. “You’ve got to come out of your shell and get to know the other people.” The game of Musical Chairs can be especially amusing when participants are in formal attire at the office Christmas party. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in an evening gown – when you want that chair, you’re going to flip the other woman off!” laughs Dionne.

Dressing It Up
“I will never say this journey has been easy. I always gave myself 24 hours to say ‘Why me?’ and then after those 24 hours, I would come to my senses and say, ‘Why Not Me?’ and ‘What am I going to do to beat this??!!’
“The word ‘survivor’ in the dictionary means ‘one who perseveres through life’s challenges, hardships, misfortunes and tragedies. One who refuses to give up, give in, or quit trying. One who triumphs over insurmountable challenges and becomes a better person because of them.’
“My message to survivors and their families and friends is this – Does cancer suck? YES! Survivors – never be embarrassed that you have been diagnosed with the disease, or you are already letting it win. Survivors – dig deep into your soul and find the courage, strength and determination to fight back! Survivors – talk to your loved ones. They want to be there for you. Survivors, family and friends – let laughter in. It is the best healing treatment to surround all of you. I have laughed even when it hurt.”

“Woo Hoo!” yells Dionne Warner as she dances her way into her weekly chemotherapy treatments at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan. “The Lord is not ready for me yet!” After surviving breast cancer and brain cancer, and hearing a diagnosis in 2001 of the first of two liver cancers, Dionne said to her then-fiancé Graham, “You don’t have to marry me. I will go back to my family and doctors in Ontario. You didn’t sign on for this.” Graham had spent considerable energy and imagination to woo Dionne to Regina to marry him. He loved her, and he quickly replied, “You never leave your wingman.” With those five words, Dionne knew that Regina would be her new home and she would get through this, with Graham at her side.

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