Tracy with her husband Michael, son Alex and daughter Natasza just before the 2012 CIBC Run for the Cure.

In 2006 I decided to train for my first half-marathon to mark the occasion of my 40th birthday. I ended up with shin splints that led to stress fractures and I had to stop running. A couple of months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Turning 40 was not working out so well for me. Even after my second chemo treatment I was able to do the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure with the support of about 30 of my colleagues. I was not able to run the entire way but I made sure to run across the finish line! It was an amazing experience to be a part of it.

Tracy with her daughter Natasza before the 2011 CIBC Run for the Cure.

The next couple of years included chemo, bilateral mastectomy, radiation, hysterectomy and breast reconstruction surgery and everything that goes along with all of that. It was a bit of a bump in the road to say the least.

In 2011 I started running again. I signed up to do the CIBC Run for the Cure in Ottawa on Oct. 2, 2011. It was the first time I was able to do it in a few years and I was more than ready. I was really excited to be doing this run with my daughter, Natasza, by my side (she was 13 at the time). Since many participants wear crazy pink outfits, I did a bit of shopping for us. We ended up with pink and gray tuques with long ears, our run t-shirts, and pink short shorts over running shorts with knee-high pink socks. Natasza was a little concerned and kept asking me, “Are you SURE that there will be other people dressed like this?” Since I had done the run back in 2006 when I was in treatment, I knew what to expect.

The day of the race was quite chilly but we still went in our shorts. There were nearly 10,000 people at the run and the atmosphere was so exciting! Natasza seemed really happy to be a part of it. I was a bit concerned about keeping up with her. She is a competitive hockey player and a great athlete. We ran side by side talking and laughing the entire way. At about 1 km before the end she said to me with a grin, “Wanna pick it up a bit?” I think we sprinted the rest of the way! When we neared the finish line both sides of the road were lined with supporters cheering and clapping and encouraging the runners! I looked at my beautiful, young, healthy daughter and she grabbed my hand and we lifted our arms to the sky and ran across the finish line together. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. I hoped with all my heart that she would never, ever have to go through what I did.

In 2012 we did the run again. This time my 17-year-old son Alex joined us as did my husband Michael. He was by my side the entire way just as he has been throughout this cancer journey. The kids were waiting for us when we finished and seeing their healthy, young and beautiful faces was another emotional moment for me as I was reminded yet again how truly blessed I am.

See you at the next CIBC Run for the Cure! I plan to be there!

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