The BRIGHT Run is certainly about fundraising. We want to provide money for as much local research as possible.
But event day is also about feelings – the emotions that make the BRIGHT Run such a special and memorable experience. Below are some examples, which have been edited for length.
Janet is a longtime BRIGHT Run participant and member of BRIGHT team the Rack Pack, captained by Janet’s niece Kim Smith.
I am really pleased to see our photos showing up in the BRIGHT Run Facebook stream. That’s the spirit of things, one big community. And this has been a really important element of Kim’s recovery and survivor story.
Kim was diagnosed just over two years ago, at age 30. I immediately contacted Mark Levine. He phoned me, and said, “With your mother’s history and now your niece, I know you’re not Jewish, but is there any possibility that you have some Jewish ancestry.” And my heart sank. I said yes.
And I said, “Mark, you don’t know, my sister had ovarian cancer 10 years ago, very successfully treated, but still…”
That was it. He saw her immediately, with my sister Carol’s history, (she is Kim’s mother), and said he would assume she had the BRCA mutation and start her treatment.
(Note: The BRCA gene mutation is more common among Ashkenazi Jewish women than in the general population.)
Kim had DNA testing and of course Mark was correct, she has the BRCA2 mutation. She was stage 3B. She had chemo, double mastectomy and radiation. When Mark retired, she started seeing Oren Levine. She’s healthy, and strong, and positive.
The first year, she had just started chemo and at one of her visits, Mark said “You’re doing the Bright Run, aren’t you?” Which she did. She joined me on Irene Stayshyn’s team. The first year, Kim didn’t register as a survivor because in her mind she hadn’t survived yet. Last year, she proudly wore the pink shirt. And this year, she took on the challenge of being a new team captain of the Rack Pack.
Lisa is \ member of BRIGHT team The Girls of WW, Lisa is a BRIGHT Run volunteer and RN working for McMaster University with the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group in cancer research:
What stands out for me is the love, compassion and victory this picture shows.
This is my Dad Dennis and Dr. Ian Dayes, a radiation oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre. My Dad, being a retired hospital employee, was part of my First Aid team and despite having just completed 40 fractions of radiation one week prior to BRIGHT, he walked 5K among participants.
Ian is Dad’s radiation oncologist. What an awesome example of the spectacular group of physicians I am privileged to work with!
David is a BRIGHT Run executive committee member, member of BRIGHT team The Linear Accelerators, spouse of BRIGHT 2019 survivor spokesperson Lisa Balsdon:
A friend came to the BRIGHT Run for the first time. She lost her brother to cancer more than 40 years ago.
When she saw Dr. Ralph Meyer she got emotional. We asked why, and it was he who treated her brother back then. He was a recent graduate.
When the family approached Dr. Meyer, they were amazed that he remembered them and the name of her brother. He spoke to them about how this case impacted him and his career (it was one of his very first).
They were so impressed with his compassion and the way in which he remembered a patient and his family from so long ago.
Needless to say, no one in the group speaking to him had a dry eye.
Nancy is the BRIGHT Run event chair, captain of BRIGHT team McMillan’s Madcaps, breast cancer survivor:
I spoke to a woman (staff member actually) who has been doing the CIBC Run for the Cure for many years with her BFF, a breast cancer survivor.
This year she decided to do the BRIGHT Run because she had been helping me with a number of things around JHCC this year and she wanted to see what all the hype was about.
So she and her BFF registered and came on event day.
When they went to the registration area to check in, her BFF dissolved into tears. The gal checking her in was her primary care nurse from years ago.
Then, when they crossed the finish line, her medical oncologist put the ribbon over her head. Again tears.
This never happened at the “other” event.
Her nurse and doctor were Karen Madden and Mark Levine.
The JHCC staff member says that the goosebumps and the electricity, as I had tried to describe, are really real and no description comes close to the feeling you get at BRIGHT Run.