My BRIGHT Story
I was 37 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My twin boys were four years old. Life was full and busy. And then cancer intruded.
I was devastated. I was worried about my boys growing up without their mom. I started planning my own funeral in my head.
The worst part was the waiting. Waiting for test results. Waiting to learn where to go next, which doctor to see, what was happening. It was so difficult.
But the Juravinski Cancer Centre has the cutting-edge diagnostic equipment that identified my cancer early and they had done the research that helped them decide on the most effective treatment for me. I don’t regret my double mastectomy for one moment.
I was looking for someone with a positive experience who was my age when I was diagnosed, but I didn’t meet anyone. I decided that I would do as much for other people as I could. I would try to be that person I had been looking for.
My sister wanted to throw a party to celebrate when all my procedures were completed. She gathered up a bunch of friends and we decided to call it Boobapalooza. We would donate the money we raised to the CIBC Breast Assessment Centre at the Juravinski Hospital.
That first year, we raised more than $10,000! The party became an annual event that ran for five years. In all, we raised more than $73,000, part of the $5.2 million that was raised by the centre.. It was thrilling to attend the 2014 opening of the centre, where patients and families will have a complete diagnostic assessment in a single visit, with a final diagnosis and, if needed, a treatment plan in five days. I am so proud to have been able to contribute to making this centre a reality.
After Boobapalooza 5 in February 2014, we decided that five years was a good run for our event. It was like planning a wedding every year and it had become all-consuming. Trying to make it bigger and better every year was very challenging.
But I wanted to stay involved in the breast cancer community, which is full of such inspiring and dedicated people. I wanted to find a way to help while working full time and being a single mom to my thriving 13-year-old boys. The BRIGHT RUN is a good fit for me, so this year I am a team captain for the first time. I am so looking forward to participating in this terrific event!
Breast cancer has changed my life. I have met so many new friends and inspiring people along the way. I really try not to sweat the small stuff. I have a greater appreciation of life and I understand the importance of taking care of myself.
I’m a great believer in the power of hope. I am a now a cancer survivor because of hope. I have an active, happy life because of hope. I can truly enjoy each day with my children because of hope. All because of hope.