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Juanita at the 2013 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure

This is me after I ran 5 km on Oct 6 2013, almost 8 months after my chemo and radiation ended. It was such a high; I felt like I had triumphed over the monster!

“It’s okay to stand out” (Photo by Shawn K Bennett)

At the age of 24 I thought my worst problems were getting over a bad break up and finding the right career, but once I thought I hit rock bottom, being diagnosed with breast cancer really put things into perspective.

Work, workouts and partying on weekends suddenly turned into doctors appointments, chemo treatments and sick days in bed! My most troubling questions went from “should I move out this year?” to “should I get my breast removed?”

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Debi Smith (pictured above) is a writer who blogs about her experiences with breast cancer here.

After two years of following a suspicious lump in my left breast, my GP and I were shocked to discover cancer deep in my right breast. Despite being 50, super fit and a healthy eater, cancer had caught up to me.

The amount found was only 10mm in size, something that would not have been discovered as early as a year prior. With all the donations and money coming in for cancer research, there are greater capabilities for diagnosis, treatment and care. I am so thankful to each and every cancer fundraiser out there. They are making progress thanks to you!

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Erna (far left) pictured with her family and celebrity chef Corbin Tomaszeski at a pre-event for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation KitchenAid Cook for the Cure Culinary Showdown

Erna Vitullo is a breast cancer survivor who has also spoken about her journey at past Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation events

On June 23, 2010 I noticed a lump in my breast. I called St. Michael’s hospital that night and within no time I had my appointment. After going through all the tests, they confirmed I had Stage 1 Class C breast cancer that was already aggressive, but contained. This was during the summertime and the hospital told me that I might have to wait for surgery. I wanted it removed right away – luckily they had a cancellation and on Aug. 16, 2010 I had my surgery.

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Team dediKATEd at the 2013 CIBC Run for the Cure. Kate is seated in the first row, five from the left.

For the past two years I have been extremely proud to put together a team for my sister, Kate. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer 20 months ago. Kate has beaten the odds time and time again; she continues to surprise her doctors and nurses. If it weren’t for people like us, collecting donations and participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, Kate may never have been given the opportunities and treatments she has been so fortunate to have.

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