My first exposure to cancer was during a Tuesday-night family dinner when the phone rang. Seeing it was her best friend, my mom picked up the phone enthusiastically. Within the first few seconds, I knew something was wrong. Sounds of disbelief and searching for the right words followed.

After she got off the phone she shared with us that our close family friend, a gregarious, bold, giving, active man, had been diagnosed with an aggressive testicular cancer. He would be going in for surgery immediately, followed by experimental treatment. Throughout the 6 years that he fought for his life, his wife would also be diagnosed with throat cancer (despite being a non-smoker). She survived, he did not.

A few years later, while at University, I met a girl who quickly became my best friend. As our friendship evolved, I came to understand that her childhood had been defined by her mother’s numerous battles with cancer.  Soon after, I had the opportunity to meet this woman that had conquered 6 different cancers and had the battle scars to prove it. During this friendship I have seen cancer again pick a fight with this spectacular woman, and then her daughter – my best friend.

They define themselves by so much more than cancer survivors, but complete, total, unabashed cancer thrivers!

Over the last few years, I feel privileged to have seen the strength of these women and the beauty of their vulnerability during the dark times. They define themselves by so much more than cancer survivors, but complete, total, unabashed cancer thrivers!

As an employee of the Canadian Cancer Society, I have been able to utilize and refer the services that we offer. Over the last four years, as I have received news of reoccurrences and new diagnosis of those close to me, I have been comforted by our Cancer Information Service team and their ability to disentangle words that carry such weight and fear.

What inspires me to work at the Canadian Cancer Society? The army of volunteers, donors and staff that have been affected by cancer and choose to ‘fight back’. I am inspired constantly by the stories of triumph, adversity and surrender and feel privileged to work at an organization that gives people hope.

What inspires you to be a part of our fight for life?