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Cancer: F you & thank you

Early last summer, I had an ongoing migraine that lasted for over a month. Plus it was accompanied by serious deterioration of my vision. I kept saying to myself what’s up with my glasses, they don’t work like they used to. I went in to see the doctors and they proceeded to tell me that I must be stressed from starting the business.  Hmmmm….okay…I was a year and a half into the business at this point…I get that there is ongoing stress, but nothing out of the ordinary all of a sudden.

Then, I found a small lump in my neck at the intersection of my earlobe and the end of my jawbone. Strange for sure. I go to see the doctor again. They ask if I’ve been sick. I say no. They proceed to tell me it’s just a swollen lymph node and not to worry about it. Sounds good to me.

One month, two months, three months go by. The lump is still there… I’m like, I’m no doctor, but something is up here. Back to the doctor I go.

They proceed to tell me that it’s still probably a lymph node, but we could get an ultrasound just to be sure. But, why don’t we wait another month? At this point, I’m like no F-ing way, let’s get the ultrasound.

Go for the ultrasound and never hear back. No news is good news I guess. I guessed wrong. Get a call 6 weeks later from my doctor saying he noticed that no one ever called me back with my test results… I should come in.

Turns out it wasn’t a lymph node. (I could have told them that a long time ago…) It was a parotid (salivary) gland tumour. Motherf*&$%!  I’ve been telling you guys something is not kosher here for months and no one was listening. 

Part of me is definitely pissed that the system had gotten things so wrong up until this point. The other part of me however was relieved that I wasn’t crazy. I was tired of hearing from everyone that it must be in my head.

Now I have to see an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist.

Do the biopsy and get the call a couple weeks later from my regular doctor that it’s benign. Awesome! A little dance of joy with Jody. All is well in the world.

I go for my follow-up appointment with the ENT surgeon and he says, well no, it’s not benign, it might be, we’re not sure, it’s that the results of the biopsy were inconclusive. For the second time here: Motherf*&$%! 

 Small important detail here. The ENT doctor is in Gatineau and speaks French and so do his reports. My regular doctor is in Ottawa and speaks English. Apparently there was a little something lost in the translation between the two…

 So, it turns out that the place where the tumour is located is the same place where your facial nerves come out from behind your ears to keep your face moving, smiling, frowning, squinting, you name it. So if the tumour does grow, it can get intertwined with your facial nerves and increase the likelihood of one of them getting cut during surgery and subsequent permanent nerve damage and loss of functionality in your face.

This tumour had to go.

While a second biopsy was an option, we decided to take it out regardless. Cancerous or not, this bitch had to go. First off, I couldn’t live with this thing in my body.  What if it spread? Plus, I seriously wasn’t down with potential facial paralysis later on. That’s not my jam by any stretch.

I go for surgery on November 19th. The first surgery of my life. I had been lucky up until this point to only have had a few broken fingers. I was definitely nervous. Ironically, mostly about looking deformed post surgery. Call me vain, but the facial paralysis thing was really nerve wracking.

Go to the hospital with Jodes. Do a few blood tests to make sure I’m ready for surgery. Lay down in the less than flattering and highly exposing gown and wait. When they finally go to wheel me in, Jody was understandably in tears. That certainly made things harder. I didn’t want her suffering through this ordeal

While in the hallway waiting area staring up at the fluorescent lights and nasty ceiling tiles, I couldn’t help but think how precious life is. How brief our time is here on earth. How many things I have left on my to-do list. I want to grow old with Jody. Be there for Savannah and Jasmine as they grow up and become the extraordinary women they are destined to be.

As I lay there waiting, the room is also filled with other people going in for their own surgeries. Most of them older, except for this one younger woman. Probably early 30’s. I hear the doctor reviewing the procedure with her. She has ovarian cancer and is getting her ovaries removed. She will never be able to have kids of her own. My heart broke for her as I could feel her making peace with this inevitable outcome.

My situation paled in comparison to that. For sure.

She got wheeled in before me and I was able to share a brief warm smile giving her every ounce of silent encouragement I could that it was going to be okay.

My surgery went pretty smoothly. They cut from the top of my ear to mid way down my neck. Removed everything that needed to be removed. Stitched me back together. Face intact.

That was November 19th. It wasn’t until January 15th that I got my results. I sit down in the office waiting for the surgeon to show up. When he finally walks in, he’s all smiles, just another day at the office. Then he opens up my file.

It was a little more complicated than we thought Peter.

The immediate reaction in my head is that doesn’t sound like benign…motherf#$%?!.

He proceeds to tell me I had stage 1 cancer. Everything was removed. It didn’t spread. Everything should be hunky dory.

Could it have spread?, I ask.

It shouldn’t have, but it could have, he answers.

Could it come back?

It shouldn’t, but it could.

WTF — this is not helping me in any way shape or form. I get it. These were the only possible answers. He was playing the odds. My only issue was the fact that the odds had been wrong every step of the way thus far.

So, it turns out I had been living most of 2018 with a cancerous tumour in my neck. That is a bit of a mindfuck when you start to think about it. A bit grateful that I didn’t know it that whole time, but hard as hell to fathom that I might have been minutes, days, months away from it spreading everywhere.

Am I going to see the girls grow up?

Does this mean that growing old with Jody is out of the picture?

I really wanted to travel more.

I’ve got some unfinished business on this planet

Fuck you cancer. You suck. You’re ugly and your momma dresses you funny.

Back to reality. Time to go for chest x-rays just to be sure it didn’t spread. Worse than that. Time to call Jodes and tell her the news.

Sitting in the waiting room for my x-rays, I call her.

So, it was benign right?, she asks.

Insert stomach sinking, I think I have to throw up, prolonged pregnant pause here.

No, it was cancer, I answer.

Tears, tears and more tears. Jody explodes into sobs that took both our breath away. I start crying as well. Alone. In this dingy, dimly lit, ascepticized waiting room with my earphones in and quiet tears creeping down my face.

Jody asks if I’m coming home? I didn’t see what the hell I was going to do there. Wallow in self pity. Ruminate over whether this thing is coming back at some point. Go down the dreaded Why me? line of thinking. Naahhh. Not much value there. May as well go back to work. So I did.

Thankfully, after a series of follow up appointments, it was confirmed that the cancer didn’t spread. I was clear. The cancer had come and gone in some sort of weird Houdini trick. Gone before I even knew it was there.

That said, however faintly, it’s echoes will never fully leave my mind. I’ve been forever pickled with cancer. I can never go back to being that nice fresh cucumber so to speak.

At first, that sounds like a bad thing. I.e. I can choose to forever worry that it might come back to bite me in the ass and take me out. And while that does remain a real possibility, it is also a source of tremendous motivation.

Memento Mori is a latin phrase that translates to remember you must die. Far from being morbid, it serves as an incredible reminder that life is short and we must make the most of the time we are here on earth.

It serves to clarify what we would like to be, do, live, accomplish while we are here. For me, my brief touch with cancer served exactly this purpose. To remember death. To review all the places I was spending my mental and physical energy. To eliminate all the thoughts and activities that are no longer serving me. To hone in on the ones that will help me fulfill my reason for being and push me to be the best possible version of myself. Both for me and for all of those who are most precious to me.

In the end, cancer for me has become the most precious of gifts. A course correcting, epiphany popping, light bulb go offing, awareness deepening, gift.

You’re still a f*cker cancer, but I owe you one. Thank you.

Peter Georgariou

CEO & Founder

With over 18 years of experience in sales, marketing and operations, Peter enjoys helping businesses establish the proper structures, strategies and marketing plans to help them achieve their goals and dreams. He is helping them make the most of their potential and ability to impact the communities in which they live.

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Project Manager / Account Strategist

What we are looking for

We are looking for a purpose-driven creative mind that thrives in helping clients bring their projects and aspirations to life. You will work with our clients to help them develop their strategic direction and build the marketing plan to bring it to life. You will have the pleasure (for the most part 😁) of working closely with our internal team and partners consisting of traditional and digital marketing, creative and graphic design, web developers, as well as other areas of the agency. 

You will work very closely with our team to manage, schedule, organize, and help create and implement client strategy. You will be working with several accounts and need to be able to manage your time effectively and work well on tight deadlines. 

Company Overview

karmadharma is a creative agency that helps enterprising organizations who want to do better in the world, do better. (We also put this into action and try very hard to do better every day!) Because when do-gooders do good, the results for all will be extraordinary. Our Ottawa-based creative agency is looking for a like minded human to join us in this Marketing Coordinator role.

We are growing and are looking for passionate and qualified people to join our team of extraordinary and eclectic people.

We need you to

  • Be an awesome team member
  • Make a difference in the world (No pressure. 😁)
  • Become a trusted advisor to our clients
  • Understand client needs and find creative solutions to help them achieve their goals. 
  • Understand your client sector and its challenges in order to seize opportunity of growth and make the appropriate recommendations. 
  • Develop, implement and execute strategic marketing plans
  • Coordinate initiatives with internal team and partners, 
  • Ensure projects are within scope of work, budget and in line with their branding.
  • Manage your time judiciously 

We need your

  • Strong emotional intelligence and a growth mindset (If you know everything, we are not the right place for you.)
  • Ability to not take yourself too seriously
  • Ability to think creatively and innovatively, and anticipate client’s needs
  • Great understanding of traditional and emerging marketing channels
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline-sensitive environment, managing multiple tasks with varying priorities. 
  • Familiarity with the latest trends, technologies and methodologies in creative strategy, marketing, etc.
  • Great writing and communication skills in both French and English

Your know-how

  • A strong desire to make a positive impact in the world
  • A good head on your shoulders
  • Kindness, empathy and compassion
  • A minimum of 7 years experience in marketing strategy or any related field 
  • And if you are on a journey to become a better version of yourself, you probably fit the team! 

We offer

  • Permanent, full-time position
  • Flexible schedule;
  • Possibility of remote work;
  • Office located in the Westboro district, close to all services
  • Competitive salary according to experience and qualifications;
  • Benefits.
  • Professional training.
  • Unlimited time-off
  • Office close between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Please submit a resume that showcases the required responsibilities and skill sets above. 

Only those whose skills and qualifications closely match the requirements of this position will be contacted.

We can’t wait to meet you!

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle is an intensely caring, and lovably nerdy, triple-threat: her creative, strategic & engineer brain are the perfect recipe for taking your organization to the next level.


Brian Mikula

Account Strategist

The entrepreneur, he will ‘tea’ you up for success (that would be more funny if you knew he founded a tea company). But seriously, this guy has a mind for marketing.

Assia Merazi

Creative Director

Mrs. Creative Worldwide hailing straight from Dubai, Assia is eager to unleash her strategic design genius on your brand. Yalla!

Jenna Araujo

Creative Lead

Jenna is the Swiss Army knife of creative…with a smile. She’s got a design solution for almost any problem accompanied by the most infectious giggle in the industry.


Account Coordinator

Gen will bring the energy to kick-start your project and the grit to see it through. Her conscience will find you the best strategy and probably save the planet along the way.


Creative Designer

Having done it all as a marketing freelancer, Jennifer applies a very thoughtful & practical mindset to her designs. She is the perfect combination of creative and cool in art and in life.

Karen Bramhill

Account Strategist

Artist, epidemiologist, operations specialist and true lover of life; Karen is a true polymath that brings a wealth of care and knowledge to every engagement. And for the record, ambiguity and her are not the best of friends.

Bárbara d’Oro

Content Strategist

Barbara is a journalist by trade who loves talking to people, asking great questions and giving a voice to their stories. Being Brazilian, she also loves a mean BBQ marathon at your local churrascaria.

A fresh coat of paint.

We are proud to have helped Nelligan Law refresh their look and feel. A refreshing take for a law firm, Nelligan decided to show off the more human side of their firm and their commitment to the community in their new identity. Watch the new promotional videos and see who the real hero of the story is.

Corporate Assets.

As part of a Brand Makeover for Nelligan, we created essential corporate elements, such as a website re-design, business cards, stationary, practice group guides and other marketing materials. Here is a just a taste of some of our work: 

The Campaign.

We hope you never have to call us…

Sometimes life can get messy. No one plans for this, but when it happens, you want the best on your side. These ads focus on those times. “We hope you never need us, but if you do..”

 Instead of putting our expertise and experience and the heart of the story, we chose to demonstrate our empathy and understanding for the difficulties facing our clients.Our clients are truly the heroes of our story.

Peter Georgariou

CEO & Founder

A Buddha-loving, health nut who races in Ironmans and runs marathons in his free time. He brings a bit of heart to each of his clients. Just wait and see how accurate that statement really is. 

Francesca Désulmé

Account Coordinator

Artist, communications enthusiast and social justice advocate, Francesca brings a plurality of lived experiences to the table. Organized, passionate and creative, she’ll help bring your projects to the next level.

Alan Horic

Senior Digital Ads Strategist

Alan is all-knowing (no joke) when it comes to deploying your digital marketing strategy; from search to display to Account-Based Marketing, he can turn your ads into a revenue generating machine.

Brent Martel

Web Development & Marketing Automation

Brent is our resident experts on making websites that convert and simplifying your marketing technology to make it work for you. Sounds good, right?

Rob Hyams

Chief Creative Officer

Rob has been building brands and campaigns since he came out of the womb…or at least that’s what it feels like. He has a rare gift; an ability to distill the complex into a succinct and compelling story.

We are all Care Givers.

The Montfort Hospital Foundation has been promoting the well-being of Eastern Ontario since 1986. It solicits, receives and administers funds that enable the Montfort Hospital to pursue its mission and achieve its objectives.

Recently the Foundation has launched a Regional Health Hub in Orleans that houses many specialists under one roof; an innovative evolution in healthcare creating a one-stop-shop for all your health needs.

The Need.

The Montfort Foundation was looking to tell, in a more compelling way, their story and the impact they were having in the community. 

Simultaneously, they were also looking to develop and execute a campaign strategy designed to increase awareness levels and donations for their new location and accompanying capital campaign for the Orléans Health Hub.

The Foundation's Identity.

Since the Foundation’s visual identity and narrative was hitherto directly tied to the hospital, we conducted an in-depth discovery phase, and developed a distinct design system that showcased how their work is directly impacting the efforts of the hospital to improve the health of the community.

Visual Identity

With a deep dive (and seemingly too many  post-its) into the vision and purpose of the Foundation,  “BonHomme” came to life; a symbol of care and support representing the role of the donor in the patient experience.


Previously the Foundations only online presence was on the Montfort Hospital’s website. It could be hard to find, navigate and  difficult to truly understand the role of the Foundation. As part of this new identity we created a donor-friendly website which clearly communicates the impact of how donor contributions are being used to improve patient care and staff satisfaction. 

The Campaign

We subsequently developed a donor-acquisition strategy which included campaign creative, paid digital campaigns, social media campaigns as well as video, display and television ads. 

Video Campaign - TV & Digital

After helping build the Case for Support for the Orleans Health Hub Capital Campaign, we developed a creative campaign to highlight the various services and benefits of this new local, innovative health hub. At the heart of the concept was a butterfly which spoke both to transformation of health services delivery as well as a the campaign itself taking flight. 

We are more than just a thrift store.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has been operating in Canada for over 175 years and is composed of 800 conferences (chapters) across Canada. They help more than 350,000 people each year providing home visits to the isolated and material support in the form of non-perishable food, clothes, household items and furniture to individuals and families. The Society also provides assistance to refugees, immigrants, and northern communities. That’s what I am talking about. We love what they do and could not wait to get started. 

The Need.

The Society was looking to broaden the awareness of the work they do, and their donor base beyond their aging membership in order to continue their much needed work for the next 175 years.

the solution.


We created a new, modernized, donor friendly website that tells the story of the Society in a more compelling way integrating key points from their Case for Support.

Digital Campaign

We then deployed a series of digital campaigns and creative for various events (World Day of the Poor, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, etc.) throughout the year that ran on Facebook targeting Catholics across Canada to increase their donor base and website donations.

Print Campaign

We created a series of print assets to support the Society including an ad for the 2021 Ottawa Business Journal Giving Guide, New Donor Welcome Package and Monthly Donor Program.