I started working with the Canadian Cancer Society 7 years ago, and have frequently been asked why I chose this line of work and why I work for this Society in particular. I figured this would be a good first blog post, a chance for you to get to know me and understand why I fight back.
My young children got to attend fundraising events with me. They got to help me fight back and they learned about why we, as a family, are dedicated to this cause.
When I was pregnant with my second child I decided to join a mommy’s group. I got to know a few great ladies who were expecting babies at the same time and we kept in touch all during our pregnancy and after we welcomed our children into the world. One of my new mommy friends had a baby girl, just like me, and we would happily share stories of our little girls. When her daughter was 2 months old, she started having unexplained fevers. Tests were done and in about 4 weeks the devastating and shocking news was delivered; her baby girl had cancer. This rocked me to my core. Over the next 6 months, I watched as this brave baby and her family fought hard against this disease until she could fight no more. She passed before her first birthday. I could not understand this at all. This was a baby. A baby.
I still get angry almost 8 years later. The realization that this could have been my child hit me hard. I had no idea what to do, but I knew something needed to be done.
Shortly after, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember thinking; oh boy here we go again.
My grandmother was receiving radiation therapy in Vancouver, and because I was home with a newborn and a toddler, driving her for treatment myself would be impossible. We heard about this wonderful program offered by the Canadian Cancer Society where volunteers drive cancer patients to the treatments. We called the White Rock office and set her up with a driver who made sure my granny got to her daily treatments for the next 6 weeks. It was a blessing. Granny’s treatments of radiation went well and we were overjoyed when she was declared cancer free.
It was these events that helped me realize who I wanted to fight back with – the Canadian Cancer Society. They had provided an invaluable service to my family and I was so thankful a charity like that existed.
I saw an ad in the paper for the Relay For Life and that was all it took; I started volunteering on their planning committee, and a year later I started working as an Online Coach for the Relay events in the Fraser Valley. From there it just grew. What started as part time went to full time work. I completely changed the direction of my career from finance to fundraising and was thrilled to do so. My young children got to attend fundraising events with me. They got to help me fight back and they learned about why we, as a family, are dedicated to this cause. They learned about cancer prevention from a young age and understand why it is important.
So that is how I got started with the Society, but why do I keep going? Well, I work with some of the most dedicated staff and volunteers out there. I meet cancer survivors and cancer caregivers that inspire me daily with their strength and courage. I get to make a difference in my own small way; I get to fight alongside some of the most dedicated cancer fighters out there. I keep going because cancer hasn’t stopped.
I meet cancer survivors and cancer caregivers that inspire me daily with their strength and courage.
Last year my Granny who beat breast cancer 7 years ago passed from a different cancer. She couldn’t beat it this time around. So until cancer stops taking people, I won’t stop fighting. None of us here at the Canadian Cancer Society will. What about you? Do you have a reason to fight back? Who do you want to fight for?