Hamilton breast cancer survivor inspired by heroes who give back

This article was originally published in CBC Hamilton, Sept. 7, 2012

You won’t see a more enthusiastic group of people sporting pink T-shirts, congregating at the Dundas Valley Conversation Area on a Saturday morning.

At 10 a.m. breast cancer survivors and cancer patients will begin a 1km/5km for BRIGHT Run, a fundraiser to raise money for breast cancer care and research.

Margaret Carter is one of the survivors. The 56-year-old breast cancer survivor explains why she is still going strong with BRIGHT.

How did I find out about BRIGHT?

I’m a six-year-breast cancer survivor. While attending a 2007 Life After Breast Cancer Conference held in Hamilton (bi-annual), I learned that a group of colleagues at the Juravinski Cancer Centre had designs on organizing a run/walk.  The impetus was to generate funding in support of breast cancer for Hamilton and its surrounding communities.  The BRIGHT RUN/Walk was formed the following year in September 2008.

Participated in BRIGHT for?

Five years and I hope to be participating for many more.

Fundraising goal?

Since the launch of the BRIGHT RUN in 2008, I have been active as a walker, sponsor and volunteer.  Also, during the past five years, I’ve collected over $9,500.00 in sponsorships and personal donations for the event.

Reason for participation?

I have a personal connection being a breast cancer survivor.  I participate in this charity run/walk as this event raises awareness, provides community moral support, as well as research funds for breast cancer.

I participate in the BRIGHT most importantly, because I know the dollars collected here, will be spent here. The research teams in Hamilton are among the finest anywhere.  I want to be a part of something special which is developing treatments that will benefit future breast cancer patients throughout the whole world.

Have you been affected by cancer in any way?

It has been six years since my breast cancer diagnosis.  Without the expertise of the Juravinski Cancer Centre doctors and nurses, I don’t know if I’d be here today.  I’m indebted to so many of the cancer treatment professionals from the JCC that I want to do a small part in giving back to its future success.

In these past six years, I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity of walking beside many close friends, relatives, colleagues and acquaintances while they too have been on their cancer journey.  Those individuals are my heroes.  Their strength inspires me to continue to be involved and give back to this community.  My involvement in the BRIGHT is the best reason that I could possibly have to create more cancer heroes in our community.

What are you most looking forward to in BRIGHT Run 2012?

“Live life in the moment” is a saying we’ve all become familiar with. What the BRIGHT experience does is provide a rollercoaster of emotional moments; laughter, tears, hugs, cheers, and immeasurable joy.  The BRIGHT connects all the participants and creates a powerful life moment.  We all love life, it’s fantastic and we all want more moments.  I hope everyone savours these powerful BRIGHT RUN/Walk moments.  Come and experience a BRIGHT moment!