Nancy McMillan is a retired banking professional, a breast cancer survivor and event chair of the BRIGHT Run. She was named a Hamilton Woman of Distinction in 2013.

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

I became involved initially as a participant and team captain in 2008. Many friends, family and work colleagues wanted to know what they could do to support me through my treatment plan. I suggested they join my team and do some fundraising. They did. Over $125,000 raised, so far.

In year five, a friend of mine won a pink canoe in a raffle held in London. He gifted it to me thinking that I could use it to raise some money. Our first BRIGHT Run raffle was born. The Madcaps raised $5,000!

I was asked to join the volunteer BRIGHT Run Advertising/Marketing committee. The rest is history.

Why did I get involved? As my parents would tell you, I have been fundraising since elementary school hot dog/pizza days. Mom and Dad have been, and continue to be, terrific role models on how to share your time and talents with others. The rewards are beyond comprehension.

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

I am retired so my “job” is very accommodating of my BRIGHT Run activities. It is amazing how the skills acquired during my 33-year banking career actually translated to my new-found fundraising/event planner/volunteer coordinator role with BRIGHT Run.

The Mohawk College Volunteer Management program contributed significantly to enhancing my knowledge of and appreciation for this very valuable group.
In retirement, my job should be taking care of my home, my parents and my family and friends. I am blessed to have a very supportive husband who takes care of all the household chores and responsibilities so that I can do what I truly love – and that is not dusting, cooking or laundry!

What do you do for the BRIGHT Run?

I do anything that needs to be done. I am a team captain (McMillan’s Madcaps, 11 years), participant (as patient, survivor, volunteer), fundraiser, and I also volunteer my time, talents and energy wherever/whenever I can. I oversee a group of more than 300 volunteers who contribute their time, ideas, networks and talents which results in BRIGHT Run every September.

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

My maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago and underwent one of the first bilateral mastectomies. Many of my post-retirement friends are breast cancer survivors, patients and/or caregivers. I had breast cancer 10 years ago.

What are your feelings about the BRIGHT Run?

I love the explosive energy that fuels every day. BRIGHT Run is my passion and reason for being. I hope I can set a good example for my grandchildren so they can see that one person can make a difference and that YES is always the answer – the fun part is then to figure out how.

I have been honoured to become part of so many breast cancer adventures, journeys and families. Not all have ended the way we would hope but I am a better person for having been invited into each of these women’s and men’s lives. I hope that I have been able to BRIGHTen at least one day along the way.

BRIGHT Run funds local breast cancer research and it is only through research that prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and life after breast cancer can and will improve. I have seen the results and changes over my 10 years in this world and I am excited to see what is next.