The breast laid plans

by Julie Frayn on May 11, 2012 in  Bric-a-brac

me and my systir flipping cancer the bird

me and my systir flipping cancer the bird

I have a personal stake in the fight against breast cancer. My systir was diagnosed in 2009. She has had radical surgery, chemotherapy, radiation. She suffers daily with the after effects – pain, limited mobility, lost focus, and the constant threat of recurrence. Cancer was not in her plans.  But cancer didn’t care.  It never does.  But she beat it.  She won.  She is alive.

In July of this year, my friend Laurene will walk 60 km in support of cancer research. This will be the eighth time she has taken part in the Weekend to end Women’s Cancers. And why? Because she is a survivor. Nine years after successfully fighting breast cancer, she is a vision of strength and tenacity. She was even the focus of a local news story about inspiring Albertans.

This year she has set a goal to raise $8,500 for this very worthy cause. She is almost there and it would be wonderful to push far past that total. Not just for Laurene, but for all the survivors, all the future fighters, and in memory of all those who didn’t win the war.

me and my systir laughing in the face of adversity

In the years since this walk started, some amazing things have happened. Just in Alberta, the Weekend has given us:

1. Two digital mobile mammography units making mammograms accessible to 25,000 women in rural communities.

2. A compassionate funding program enabled more than 180 women to be treated with Herceptin, an exciting new drug that was under review for government funding. This drug that helped saved my systir’s life is now funded by the province for all who need it.

3. Research testing a faster way to deliver pain medication, giving palliative patients the best quality of life in the time they have. Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer will appreciate how important and wonderful this is.

4. Research to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer.  Because isn’t once just one time too many?

5. Research on the causes of ovarian, endometrial, and breast cancer to find biomarkers to identify these cancers early so effective prevention and early detection strategies can be developed.

The benefits don’t stop there. This weekend has increased the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s investment in cancer research from about $300,000 annually to over $24 million in the past 7 years. Wonderful! And this is just my little province – these walks happen all over North America.

Laurene carrying a flag at closing ceremonies 2011

If you know someone walking this summer, please support them. If you don’t, and you are Canadian, please visit Laurene’s personal page and donate. Every dollar counts.

If you are American, you can still donate to Laurene’s walk, but I’m not sure your contribution would be tax deductible. So if you prefer, please give to the American Cancer Society.

Cancer sucks. Let’s do something about it.

Disclaimer – the above are my views and only my views (except the benefits of the walk as reported on the Alberta Cancer Foundation website). I have not been asked to post this, and do not get anything from it – except deep satisfaction in knowing that the world is trying to eradicate this horror, or at least trying to improve the quality of life, recovery times, and survival rates of those that suffer from it.



{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

J Timothy Quirk May 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Julie, your blog post about your syster and your friend is heartfelt and sincere. After defeating cancer, every day your syster and friend Lauren and by extension their family and friends can recognize and celebrate each day is a victory. I love the smiles in all of these photos!


Carolyn May 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm

You are so right, and I love all the smiles too!

Julie May 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Thanks, Joe. Every day is worth celebrating that is for sure. 😀

Carolyn May 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm

You helped me survive darling systir. I love you.


Julie May 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I had selfish motives. I love you too… ♥

Leanne Shirtliffe May 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm

A beautiful post, Julie. My sister-in-law is a survivor. Thanks for this beautiful writing.


Julie May 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm

You’re welcome, Leanne. There are too many who’ve suffered, and too many that have not survived. Glad your sister-in-law beat it.

Sean P. Farley May 12, 2012 at 9:23 am

Julie, I had no idea. And I made silly comments about the photo on Facebook not realizing….I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the seriousness behind the picture. I hope all works out. :) This post was very touching.


Julie May 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Don’t be sorry – that photo wasn’t even remotely serious. It was taken four years before her diagnosis, and we were actually having fun with her oldest son who took the picture. Moms of the year, every year, never hesitate to flip off our kids.. 😀

Miranda Gargasz May 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Tears fill my eyes. Quite a few people I’ve loved have fought this horrible disease. Some have won and some have lost, but all of them were so brave in the face of this beast we call cancer. I am touched by your words. I hope someday we’ll find a cure and kick its butt for good.


Julie May 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I am hoping for a good butt kicking too, Miranda! I don’t know anyone that hasn’t been touched, either directly or through family or friends, by cancer. Damn it all anyway…

Sean P. Farley May 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Ok, good! Whew! :)


Jase Rosenburg (@JaseR75) May 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I have an Aunt who is fighting breast cancer now, my stepdad is fighting leukemia and I lost my dad to cancer. I too am a cancer survivor. I know that it doesn’t care who or what it destroys. Your post was such a wonderful way to bring light to this cause.
I LOVED this post.


Julie May 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Jase, I’m so sorry you and your family have been touched by cancer far too often. Glad that you love this post, and that new light can be shone on the fight to beat it.

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