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LETTER: Cancer survivor urges citizens to support Terry Fox Run

I ask you to skip your morning coffee out and donate the money to the Terry Fox Foundation to help ensure more success stories like mine, says letter writer
2019-09-15 Orillia Terry Fox Run 1
Prior to the pandemic, people physically participated in the Orillia Terry Fox Run, such as this one in 2019. Due to the pandemic, this year's event will be a virtual affair. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters File Photo

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I’m a cancer survivor and this is my story.

In the spring of 2013, an ultrasound confirmed masses in my breast. A biopsy was performed and it was confirmed I had breast cancer.

The question wasn’t how to beat it, but how to tell the girls, then aged four and six, who had been recently been to five close friends’ funerals, that mommy, too, had cancer. We chose to explain to them without using the word cancer. Mom was sick, but mom was going to be OK.

Prior to my first chemotherapy treatment I was prescribed a commonly used steroid. I took a reaction to it and my heart rate went erratic. I remember lying in bed with my six-year-old struggling to eat a freezie, reassuring her mom was going to be OK. In reality, I almost lost my battle before it even began.

I then began my journey through chemotherapy and radiation. I dropped down to 80 pounds. I struggled to stay awake for an hour at a time. The little things would exhaust me. 

I started to fear that I wouldn’t watch the kids grow up, that I would miss the remaining milestones in their lives. 

My husband remained positive and didn’t say a word about carrying my share of daily activities. He cooked and cleaned after working extra hours to ensure ends were met. All so I could save my energy to show our girls, mommy was winning the battle. 

Our girls kept me positive by not complaining about trading in trips to the mall and hockey games for cuddling on the couch and watching cartoons. 

My parents made trips to help with the kids and house. 

My cousin Kerry, who was also enduring her battle, was a support who knew how things felt.  An overwhelming amount of phone calls offering to help and to see how I was doing. But each set of scans gave us hope by showing the sizes of the masses were shrinking. Our treatment plan was working. Later a lumpectomy was performed.

In fall of 2014, sitting in my specialist’s office I received the best news: I was cancer free. Thanks to the research that has been performed to date, I would be able to enjoy my girls’ future milestones, even go onto have a third little girl.

I’ve participated in Terry Fox runs since public school, but that year it took on a new meaning. I joined the family of survivors. The feeling this family brings cannot begin to be explained. 

Each year, my family and I participate proudly for those who have lost their battle, are currently fighting, and those who, like me, are survivors.

So I ask you to skip your morning coffee out and donate the money to the Terry Fox Foundation to help ensure more success stories like mine. Please donate today, any denomination helps.

Please join myself and thousands of others on Sept. 20 as we walk to support the Terry Fox Foundation.

Christine Quehe
Oro-Medonte Township

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