By: Samantha Brazeau-Wilson

Part time massage therapy professor Anna Bélanger is one of four nationwide winners of Dove Canada’s “Celebrate Mom” contest. She has won $2,500 for herself and the same amount to donate to the charity of her choice.

Anna Bélanger takes on the role of many women: she is a mother, a pre and postnatal massage therapist, a part-time professor at Algonquin College, and one of four women who has won Dove Canada’s “Celebrate Mom” contest. And she has been awarded $2,500 for herself, with a matching amount to be donated to a charity of her choice.

Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Bélanger runs a massage therapy clinic dedicated to all types of woman called Anna Bélanger and Associates, located at 1097 Bank St. in Old Ottawa South. The clinic is run by all women and specializes – but is not limited to – pre and postnatal massage and features yoga classes and workshops for expecting mothers.

Bélanger was nominated as a role model for the Dove Canada contest by her close friend Lara Wellman.

“When I saw the call for nominations, without a doubt, Anna is who popped into my head as deserving,” Wellman wrote in her nomination letter. “She gives so much of her time, compassion and energy to others. It would be so wonderful to acknowledge all that she does with this award.”

Wellman and Bélanger first met through the birthing community. Wellman appreciated the services that Bélanger provided to her when she was an expecting mother, and admired the commitment and strength she put into her own family.

Bélanger has four children between the ages of five and 19; a son and three daughters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum.

“Her commitment to her children is inspiring,” said Wellman. “Whether it is how hard she has worked to prove doctors wrong about their autism diagnosis, or helping her teenage daughters navigate through the difficult times of growing up.”

There are four different winners of the “Celebrate Mom” contest each was selected from a different region of the county. Out of the top five women from Eastern Canada, five from Western Canada, five from Ontario and five from Quebec, Bélanger won for Ontario.

“I read about the five other women in Ontario and I thought there is absolutely no way that I’m going to win this,” said Bélanger. “But the thing is I didn’t need any more than [getting nominated]. That in itself was enough.”

After the excitement of winning the contest and accepting the award, Bélanger has decided to donate the $2,500 to the United Way to give to youth services. She would like to eventually become a spokesperson for a charity.

Over the last few years she has been through many struggles whether that is moving to a new place, starting her own business, and dealing with her daughter’s diagnosis, in the end, everything works out.

“What you give is what you will get in return.”