Hannah McEdwards (pictured left) and her "sister"

That’s me – yes, the one on the left with the really big sunglasses. That’s my best friend of 31 years on the right, but I refer to her as the sister I never had. She’s better than a sister. She’s the friend that will be by your side no matter what. She’s the one I go to when things are going wrong. She’s the one that understands when no one else does, or at least pretends to, but will never say that. You can’t really tell, but we’re working at a breast cancer fundraiser in this picture.

I am 36 years old and have an advanced form of breast cancer. No one can tell me why or how I seemed to get it at the ripe old age of 34, but I did. It is not genetic, so there isn’t a logical reason why I should ever have to experience this. I’ve completed the chemo, I have completed the radiation, I have completed two surgeries and soon I will have my final surgery, a bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction.

My husband is my biggest cheerleader and supporter, but it is this woman, my “sister,” who has been there, supporting me and my family when she had her own things to deal with. She’s the mother of a beautiful little girl, and soon to be mom of another. She has driven hours to be with me for appointments and tests. She has hung out with my kids so that they knew someone would always be there for them. And she has listened to me, supported me, and taught me so many things about friendship and love.

I wanted to share this because I am realizing how incredibly blessed I am to have a family beside me all the way, my kids cheering for their mom to push a little more, and this lady, who is my soul mate, even if it sounds cheesy. I am so incredibly thankful to have her in my life.

We are again participating in this year’s Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, with a slight change. This is my event this year. I am the director and I will be speaking to everyone on October 6 as a survivor. We are doing this so that my daughters, and her daughters, and everyone’s daughters and sons will never have to endure what I did. I am doing this so that I can proudly say: we are making a difference in everyone’s life.

- Hannah McEdwards