Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CIBC Run for the Cure

Hey, look, I'm talking about the Run for the Cure again.  It's somewhat awkward asking people for donations for the run.  Especially since I actively avoided telling many people in my life that I actually HAD cancer.  And then I did this which is forcing me to talk about it and share way more than I ever planned to.

To donate without reading further, please click here

But hey, in my first week, I surpassed my original goal for fundraising.

The first week.

I really should have celebrated with pie.  What was I thinking?

I set my goal at $500 because I thought I'd get $20 donations from most people.  I expected $20 donations from most people, IF they chose to donate, but my friends, coworkers and family surpassed that by leaps and bounds and I soon discovered I'd could increase my goal from $500 to $1000.

So, today I want to talk about why I chose to fund raise.  After all, there's the option for me to just pay my $40, run the race and go on my merry way.  I started out by looking at where the money from the run goes - this is actually pretty important and you can find ratings on many charities through various websites.  I found this which made me feel good about my choice.  And then I found this which gives you more information on investigating charities although some of the links found in that article are broken.

How about a recent financial statement?

But what does that mean and how does that benefit people with breast cancer?

I started at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's webpage.  That link will take you directly to the information that impacted me the most - what they do in the prairies and Yukon/NWT.

Things that matter to me?  They provide a grant to the Canadian Cancer Society.  When diagnosed with Cancer, much of the information provided to me was published by the Canadian Cancer Society.  Pamphlets on what to expect with Chemotherapy, information on managing side effects, diet, activity and what happens after treatment.  Any information you could want while going through treatment and beyond was available.

I still have several of their booklets in my bedside drawer, even if I read them less and less.

How about research?  It seems to be a commonly held belief that the money being raised for Cancer charities is just being wasted.  With the amount of money and time spent, we should have a cure already.  Therefore, the cure exists and continuing to fund it is pointless.

Yes.  I've seen this argument.

It makes me want to kick puppies.  And I love puppies.  There is nothing I would like more than to lie down in a room full of the furry, wiggly little buggers and let them crawl all over me.  Ok, there are some things that I'd like more, but come on A ROOM FULL OF PUPPIES!

I digress.

Sometimes I have to refrain from saying things like, "Shut the hell up unless you're actually a cancer researcher."  Then again, everyone is an armchair expert and will always tell other people how to do jobs they have no intention (or skill/knowledge) to do themselves. Myself included.

Just ask my husband. (Hi honey!)  This week, I attempted to tell him how to unclog a sink drain.  Because that's totally my skillset.

BUT, when we look at research, it goes beyond looking for a cure - regardless of the name of the event in this case.  For example, there is much research in the areas of early detection.  Someone out there discovered the breast cancer gene which many would argue is a HUGE step in prevention and treatment of cancer.  If you go to the page here, you'll also see that they fund research into other very important things like how to support people at the time of diagnosis, or examining how the disease affects people's lives and helping them better deal with that.

But let's talk treatment.  If you're uneducated about cancer treatment (like I was and I still am overall), you probably think that because there is no "cure" there is no advancements.  First of all, I was amazed by the sheer number of chemotherapy drugs that exist for treating all cancers.  I received a drug that is apparently used in breast cancer as well as lymphomas and leukemias.  In all, I received three different chemotherapy drugs, but many with breast cancer don't get chemotherapy at all.  I'm also continuing to be treated with an ongoing, non-chemotherapy drug.

And finally, there are a number of drugs designed to make chemotherapy bearable.  These drugs are invaluable.  We've all heard the stories of mouth sores and nausea.  I've watched people go through it in the past and I dreaded that.  DREADED it.

I had mouth sores for a total of 10 days.  They were a nightmare, but 10 days out of about 7 months total treatment is amazing.  Add to that the anti-nausea drugs.  Whoever developed those deserves a medal.  I never once suffered from nausea.

This is not to say that I went without side-effects altogether, but the worst of the most common ones were limited.

Seriously, find it early and  your treatment could be as easy as surgery and a bit of radiation. Which is why so much money is poured into awareness and education.  It's why you see screening programs and information everywhere about the importance of self exams, mammograms, etc.

Originally, pre-surgery, that was the plan for me - surgery and a few radiation treatments just to make sure.  Then the tumor was large and agressive.  I still had the option of skipping chemotherapy, but it seemed like a bad idea to skip it and risk things like metastasic cancer (where it spreads to other parts of the body.  Aka Stage IV.  Aka terminal)

Interested in what kind of research they're funding?  Go here.  Keep in mind, that is JUST the money that has been granted to research in the prairies (AB, SK, MB) and the territories (YK, NWT).

So, this is why I've decided to be a fundraiser in the CIBC Run for a Cure event.  If you've made it this far and want to support me in my efforts, please click here to donate.  I appreciate any and all support.

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