01/16/2015 12:15 EST | Updated 03/18/2015 05:59 EDT

Cancer survivor Dionne Warner thrilled by husband's 75-tonne gift

It can be difficult for a husband to find that perfect gift, but Graham Warner believes a 75-tonne tow truck painted hot pink is a fitting tribute to his wife, Dionne, who has survived eight cancer diagnoses in 20 years.

Dionne Warner agrees.

"Hey, some girls get purses, boots, a book," Dionne said. "I get a tow truck!"

On Friday morning, Graham Warner showed his support for his wife's cancer fight in creative and dramatic fashion, something the couple has made its trademark.

The Warners, known for wearing elaborate costumes and dancing at chemotherapy, christened the pink and purple transformer-like rescue truck by smashing a bottle of champagne.

Warner runs a large truck and bus dealership with commercial towing services, so building a half-million-dollar tow truck wasn't a philanthropic venture. However, he decided to paint it pink — not a popular idea among his drivers — to symbolize the powerful help available to cancer patients.

Love story

While some might wonder if it's a marketing gimmick, Warner has long shown his support for Dionne with great flair. The couple has sported 130 costumes to chemotherapy, from disco sparkle pants to rocker animal print Spandex.

"It just snowballed into so many different themes because we thought, 'Everybody is just loving this and we're having so much fun,' " Dionne, 49, told CBC News. "Friends were saying, 'Have fun at chemo!' "

It's been a long journey to this point.

Dionne was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, at age 30, and her marriage at the time didn't survive.

"My first husband said to me that nobody would want me, that I was damaged goods," Dionne said.

The metastatic breast cancer had gone into remission then recurred seven times in different parts of her body. She had brain surgery twice in 1997.

Graham and Dionne Warner, who had met years earlier, reunited in 2001 after their first marriages ended. Their relationship had a rough start when Dionne was diagnosed with cancer in her liver.

In 2009, after seven years of remission, doctors delivered her most serious diagnoses yet — Stage 4 palliative cancer in her bones, lungs and liver.

Chemo costumes

Dionne took 24 hours to ask all the, 'Why me?' questions, then decided she would wear war paint and a bright pink "Cancer Sucks" T-shirt to her first day of chemotherapy. As always, Graham was at her side.

Since then, the couple has taken delight in dressing up to entertain each other and other cancer patients.

On chemo treatment days, Graham stops by their house to put on whatever costume Dionne has laid out, then escorts her to the Allan Blair Cancer Centre in Regina. They often play music and dance their way into the treatment area. 

While Dionne is still undergoing chemotherapy for liver cancer, the spunky woman is all smiles as she checks out the tow truck from her husband.

For her, the real gift is yet another day together.