I can’t believe it is that time of year again: the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure! This is my fourth year running, which means it’s a little over three years since my Stage III Grade 1 diagnosis. Team Campia is a family and friends team put together by the gymnastics club I used to coach at eight years before my diagnosis. The support that came from the gymnastics community was, and still is, amazing. Every year during the CIBC Run for the Cure I am reminded of that support and inspired to continue to put my time to good use.
I can’t thank my friends and family enough for the support they show me through this journey. My mother and my husband should be sainted for all that they have done, and three very special friends met once a week throughout my diagnosis to chat, cry, laugh, vent and do whatever we felt we needed to do to help me through. These meetings brought all of us closer as friends and have enriched my life since diagnosis, as we continue to be an integral part of one another’s lives.
Our CIBC Run for the Cure Team Captain leads this team with gumption every year and I think it is wonderful for her to be teaching the young gymnasts to give back to their communities. It is overwhelming to see this nonprofit organization, which has to do its own fundraising throughout the year, come together annually to raise money for another cause. Campia, the gymnastics club, started this team the year I was diagnosed and my first run took place five weeks after my mastectomy and just one week after my first of six rounds of chemo. I felt compelled to attend the CIBC Run for the Cure, held 330 kilometres from my hometown, even though I didn’t know how I would be feeling. The team inspired me right from the beginning and showed me how much easier cancer treatment would be with help from friends. It got me out to St. John’s, Newfoundland, away from home at a time I probably would have never went, and allowed me an opportunity to spend time with my “gym friends” which I thoroughly enjoyed as they have always kept me young at heart!
The CIBC Run for the Cure, along with Campia’s other dedications to breast cancer, will not only raise funds but also more importantly raise awareness in young gymnasts all over our province. Campia has since also renamed its local invitational gymnastics meet to “The Pink Invitational” and it raises funds there; the team leotard has a pink ribbon incorporated in the design too. Thank you Campia for taking this on after my diagnosis. You inspire me each year and I am proud to be part of what you are doing for breast cancer and building awareness in young women. Early detection is key to survival and I feel this snowball of breast cancer events in our province’s gymnastics community has started some traditions that will continue long after anyone will remember who I am and that will make the journey worth it!
There are times when I look in the mirror naked and see scars that may make me frown. There are changes to my body that I am told will be there forever that irritate me and cause discomfort. There are memories of chemo and radiation being a pain. There were lost opportunities at work due to sick leave. There were financial burdens that I am still paying off and there is constant worry about reoccurrence. BUT I still think my breast cancer has brought more good to my life than bad … more smiles and laughs than tears … more “awe” moments than “ugh” moments … and more hope than despair. Maybe the breast cancer diagnosis just helped me focus on the good that has always been there in my life. I don’t know, but either way, I am enjoying this life more, stressing less and giving more to others. I think the timing of that first CIBC Run for the Cure just put me in that positive mindset right at the beginning of my diagnosis and had a large enough impact to keep me there ever since! Thank you to all organizers, supporters and participants of the CIBC Run for the Cure. Keep up the good work!