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Lisa Ray Tells Her Story One Sari at a Time

07/09/2013 03:47 EDT | Updated 09/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Sometimes when you meet someone you never forget the feeling you have after talking to them. Lisa Ray is one such person. You really sense a love of life and a fire in Lisa when you meet her, that will leave its impact on you days after. At the official launch of her limited edition line of 10 sarees by SatyaPaul Canada, I had the chance to meet and speak with model-actress and social activist, Lisa Ray. She was there to launch her line of saris but was incredibly gracious taking time to meet with all the invited guests, chat with them, give hugs and take pics with those who asked. More importantly she was there to share her story through this incredibly stunning line of sarees.

Ray, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning actress, model, host and cancer advocate was raised in Toronto by an Indian father and Polish mother and moved to India to launch her career at the age of 16. In 2009, she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and after two years of treatment she married Jason Dehni in California's Napa Valley. On her wedding day, Ray wore a custom-made Satya Paul georgette sari highlighted with traditional gota-patti work.

"Living with Multiple Myeloma, I have learned that the progress of the human spirit doesn't stop with obstacles and challenging circumstances. I want to share my message of victory and love with others, so I am partnering with Satya Paul to present a line of saris that capture the intimate and celebratory emotions of my wedding. The collection is also themed around universal qualities that helped me to rise above, like Phoenix Rising, Hope and Faith," said Ray.

WATCH A CLIP OF LISA AT THE LAUNCH.

"What I realize is that my wedding was not just a wedding. It's was a symbol of what jumping back into life wholeheartedly means. Two years ago when I was going through my treatment, I couldn't have conceived that post treatment, post losing all my hair, post rising out of the ashes that I would meet my soul mate and get married. So distilling down what did it take to get to this place and finding these qualities: hope, phoenix rising, chant are very representative of my story."

Lisa says she's had time to reflect on her cancer and how to adapt to life after receiving cancer treatment. She chronicles her journey on her blog that she has had since receiving her diagnosis. Ray says the design process was an intensive one that took her through her life's highs and lows and took place over several conversations, skype calls over several weeks. She's extremely proud of the line of saris created.

"It was a true collaboration. Satya Paul is known for its prints and for its statements," said Ray. "They really got it. They understood what it was I was trying to capture. It's a real process of exactly how the story came to be and what exactly were the qualities that really helped me get through my difficult time." She adds she loved telling her story through fabric.

"One of the sarees is 'Phoenix Rising' and that really just really just says it all. The saree itself is shaded from dark to light, representing the journey and the different 'shades' that we experience in our lives. But It went from just my story to a much bigger story. Faith is something that's a universal quality. It takes faith to start a new business, it takes faith to fall in love and it takes faith to get married."

The collection will be available at Satya Paul signature stores in Toronto, New Delhi, Mumbai and online at www.satyapaul.com. A portion of the sales from this collection in Canada will benefit the Molly and David Bloom Chair in Multiple Myeloma Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The Bloom Chair supports Multiple Myeloma research and the development of life-extending treatments for this treatable, yet incurable cancer.

By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar

Follow Anjum @masalamommas

Read more stories on South Asian-inspired fashion at Masalamommas

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