Meet Chris, Our BRIGHT Crusader
It’s difficult not to be drawn in by Chris Gravelle sparkling smile and infectious laugh. But if somehow that doesn’t do it, her intense passion for the BRIGHT RUN surely will!
“I love communicating with people,” said Chris. “I love giving hugs. I love hearing stories from survivors and their families when I’m selling raffle tickets. I just love people!”
A registered nurse, Chris most recently worked in palliative/supportive care in Niagara for eight years. She has “retired” three times; only the third one, about two years ago, actually stuck.
“I have a passion for being an advocate for people who are unwell,” she said of her years in palliative care. “It was an honour and a privilege to work with families at that time in a loved one’s life. We worked to make it the best we could.”
Retired or otherwise, Chris has been involved in the BRIGHT RUN as a participant and volunteer right from its first outing in 2008.
She came on board with event chair Nancy McMillan. The two became friends after Chris was Nancy’s supportive care nurse during Nancy’s treatment for breast cancer.
“It was a mutual thing,” Chris said. “We both wanted to be involved in this cause.”
It’s a cause that’s particularly important to Chris, given that she has worked with so many families in which cancer was an issue.
She started as a member of Nancy’s team, McMillan’s Madcaps, but now leads her own team, Chris’ Crusaders.
Chris has been a member of the BRIGHT RUN executive, and has pitched in wherever she’s needed – distributing posters, staffing booths at community events and working hard selling raffle tickets. The goal of it all, she says, is to support research in the hope that future generations will not have to worry about “crappy cancer.”
Chris is also an advocate of inclusion, with particular focus on the LGBTQ community and Aboriginal peoples. This has led to her involvement in the Screen for Life Mobile Coach, which stops at a range of locations across Hamilton and provides three cancer screening tests in one location.
The bottom line for Chris is the opportunity to help people.
“The BRIGHT RUN, for me, is about making a difference, one person at a time,” she said.