You have breast cancer – words no one ever wants to hear…they strike fear and despair into the heart of the person on the receiving end.
In August 2010, when I was originally diagnosed, I knew I had a long journey ahead of me. I also knew, however, that my prognosis was good and that there was hope for a successful recovery.
I followed the prescribed treatment plan and, after three months, returned to work as strong as ever. Then, in August 2011 after my first follow-up check, I was told it had returned. Although a significant emotional blow, I just asked what the next step was and, after consultation with my surgeon and oncologist, it was decided collectively that I would undergo a mastectomy.
After recovering from the mastectomy, I returned to work in a couple of weeks. I felt fine considering the physical and emotional toll such a surgery takes on a person and now the decision on whether to have reconstructive surgery began.
I knew if I went ahead with it, it was a long process. The microvascular surgery was six hours, the second surgery approximately two hours. So, I took my time deciding whether or not to go ahead with it. It was a very major decision, one that took me three years to make.
During this same time frame, I participated in the Terry Fox Walk. While on the walk, I found a discarded pink ribbon on the ground. This gave me the idea of the ribbon. While I was waiting for my operating day, which was postponed three times, the last time for a six-week wait, I decided to turn the wait time into something positive. Thus, the “Ribbon of Hope” was born.
With the Chief’s personal blessing, and his permission to allow all uniform personnel to wear the pink ribbon on their uniform during October’s awareness campaign, I set out and handmade 2,000 ribbons to help raise donations.
Through everyone’s generosity, the Toronto Police Service’s “Ribbon of Hope” campaign was able to donate $4,574.35 to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. I hope to add to that total this year with your help.
So far this year, I have made 500 ribbons and I hope to get more made leading up to October 1, the kick-off of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I appeal to everyone to give what you can. The amount does not matter. What is important is the awareness of the disease, the education that comes from sharing a very personal story and if I can give hope and encouragement to one person battling this disease, then it has absolutely been worth it.
The Ribbon of Hope Campaign aims to raise $25,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation on behalf of the Toronto Police Service.
Some facts about breast cancer from the Shop4Charity Calendar in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
- Regular physical activity helps improve your overall physical, emotional and social health and well-being. Another important reason to get
more active is that this can lower your risk of breast cancer by as much as 25 to 30 per cent.
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Canadian women – with 1-in-4 cancer diagnoses being breast cancer.
- Fewer Canadian women are dying from breast cancer today than in the past – since their peak in 1986, breast cancer deaths have
decreased by 43 per cent due to earlier detection through regular mammography screening, advances in screening technology, and
- The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age – 82 per cent of new breast cancer cases will occur in Canadian women
- One-third of breast cancers could be prevented by living well.
- You can reduce your risk of breast cancer by:
- Being a healthier body weight
- Having a balanced diet
- Getting regular physical activity
- Quitting smoking – or never starting
- Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
For Canadian women 30 – 49, the risk of being diagnosed with any type of cancer is 1 in 500 – about one-third of these cancers will be
- breast cancer.
- In 2014, on average, 67 Canadian women were diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
- In 2014, an estimated 24,400 women and 210 Canadian men were diagnosed with breast cancer.
- 1 in 9 women in Canada will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
- What many people don’t realize is that alcohol is a known carcinogen – a substance that causes cancer. The breast is one of the most
sensitive parts of the body to the cancer-causing actions of alcohol. It’s not the type of alcohol that causes cancer, it’s the amount
consumed and how frequently.
- The five-year relative survival ration for Canadian women diagnosed with breast cancer is 88 per cent – in 1986 it was 79%.