By CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON All Woman writer email@example.com
SHE walked into the offices of the Jamaica Observer last week, a smile painted on her face. Looking at her you would never guess that just last December she was facing the doctor, absorbing the crushing news that her biopsy showed she had cancer.
But as the tears came from her eyes then, something else took over — the will and resolve to beat the disease which was attacking her body.
And so she spoke her conviction aloud, telling the cancer it would not win and from then began the battle to beat the monster that took one of her breasts.
Letna Allen remembers responding to her husband's phone call by telling him everything was alright as she did not want to give him the news over the phone.
"He broke down and I ended up being the one comforting him!" Allen said about telling the news to her husband and business partner Arnold Rowe later that day.
It's been nine months since surgery and chemotherapy, and Allen is now giving God thanks for taking her through.
She doesn't entertain the thought that the cancer could come back, but looks to her real source of strength in God, as she focusses on what she does best — her outreach ministry which saw her receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne on September 20.
Allen, who co-owns Rapid Remittance Money Transfer with her husband, received the award for "dedicated service to peers, to community, and Canada." For her it feels great to know that her tireless work in the York-Eglinton community where she caters to the well-being of seniors and students through feeding programmes, as well as back-to-school help, has been recognised.
"It means that I am in a world where we are the minority and to see that I'm being selected out of a constituency of 800,000 people, and I am one of 14, and the only Jamaican, it encourages me to keep on pushing," she said.
She said her business and work affords her the perfect opportunity to assist Jamaicans in the Diaspora.
A member of the Malvern Methodist Church in Scarborough, Ontario, Allen plays a vital role in her church where is in charge of the senior, prayer and women's ministries.
"My life is about service," said the mother of a daughter who is now studying law
With her charity, regular job and church activities, one would think Allen would have time for little else. Not so, as she finds time for her first passion — one she practised in Jamaica before migrating in 1994 — acting.
Known as "the Miss Lou of Canada" she has been called to do her impersonation of the late folklorist and actress.
"I just love Miss Lou and every time I go on stage I honour her by doing either one of her poems or a skit," she said.
She currently stars in the Marcia Brown Production I Want To Know My Father, a Christian play that is filled with drama, comedy and some home truths.
Before migrating to Canada, the Clarendon native appeared in a number of Jamaican productions including Against His Will and Oliver and Cinderella. Her film credits include Front Room, Oliver at Large and Sarge in Charge.
And although she is living in Canada, Allen has not forgotten her roots, and sells Jamaica every chance she gets.