Carmela Oliverio is a Certified Clinical Research Professional. She works at the Juravinski Cancer Centre clinical trials department as a clinical research associate. She was born in Italy and moved to Canada when she was seven and a half years old and had to adapt to a new way of life. She has been married for 25 years and has two boys, aged 24 and 20. She is involved in many little projects, most recently in youth mental health, along with the BRIGHT Run.

When, how and why did you get involved in the BRIGHT Run?

I was a volunteer with the CIBC Run for the Cure. When the opportunity presented itself to fund trials in Hamilton, I wanted to be part of it as this is my community. I was one of the original planning committee members the first year the run was planned. I was working in the Breast Disease Site and coordinating a breast trial. I felt this was an important cause and lent a hand with the fundraising to make the run a success.

How does your work for the BRIGHT Run fit with your job?

I no longer work with breast patients, but being in trials, I know how important it is to raise money to perform trials. I have an intimate knowledge of how the trials are run and how they help patients and their families. Without trials, the strides we’ve made in treating breast cancer would not have been possible.

What do you do for the BRIGHT Run?

I co-captain Rockers 4 Knockers. We raise funds for the BRIGHT Run through a yearly musical concert. We also raise money through bake sales, DVD/books sales, karaoke night, T-shirt sales and more. We’ve raised more than $30,000 since the inception of the run, one baked good at a time and once concert at a time.
I also serve on the executive committee as chair of the Teams Committee. This is new to me and a huge responsibility to recruit returning teams and attract new teams to build the attendance at the BRIGHT Run.

Do you have any personal/family connections to breast cancer?

I have my personal reasons for wanting to eradicate breast cancer. One of my best friends was diagnosed with the disease. Being with her through her fight and seeing her bravery made me that much more determined to keep fundraising.

What are your feelings about the BRIGHT Run?

The BRIGHT Run has brought the community together. The day of the run is so inspiring and emotional. It is wonderful to see all those people come together with a common goal – fighting breast cancer. Seeing the survivors, Hamilton Health Sciences employees, friends, children, men, sports teams, companies from the surrounding area, etc., come together is uplifting and fills the heart with such bursting emotions. I hope we can continue to bring the community together for many years to come and raise enough money to fund trials to eradicate this disease.