This past Sunday (October 4), I was one of the many thousands of individuals who participated in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Run for the Cure. Like so many others, I have a personal connection to the cause as my mother is a breast cancer survivor. I am proud to report that my mother is an example of how early detection can really change outcomes. She found her cancer early, had surgery and chemotherapy and, three years later, is doing great largely due to her early detection and her wonderfully positive attitude.
The run brought a number of different worlds together for me, with my family connection being just one of them. One of the speakers was a 32-year old breast cancer survivor who talked about her own battle and how she felt a lack of connection with her same age peers as they were not dealing with chemotherapy, hair loss, and the many other issues that cancer presents. This perspective mirrors what I have learned since I started here at Young Adult Cancer Canada, specifically how the cancer experience is so different for young adults, and isolation is prominent. So despite the type of cancer, for many young adults, the feelings are definitely the same.
I found it very inspirational and moving to see the answers to the question “Who are you running for?” pinned to everyone’s jackets and sweatshirts (it was cold!). They ranged from the very personal (i.e. my mother, my sister, my daughter, myself or a specific person’s name) to the generic, yet no less powerful (i.e. you, women everywhere). It really shows that everyone has a story; some are sad, some are happy, but the feeling of love and support present were undeniable.