The battle against women’s cancers is an ongoing one, but many women are doing their part by taking part in the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers.
The events take place this weekend (Aug. 13 and 14). More than 1,000 women will be running or walking 30 km over one day, or 60 km over two days.
The walk is not only about finding cures, but also about raising awareness about cancer and the many different ways it can affect the lives of daughters, mothers, sisters, wives and friends.
Simone Malcolm, 37, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2010, when she was six months pregnant with her third child. Two weeks after she was diagnosed, she had a mastectomy and a month later, her youngest son, Duncan, was born.
Her diagnosis changed not only her life, but also the lives of her husband and young children.
Because of her age and good health, doctors gave her a positive outlook, but she wanted to do something more than her personal fight with the disease.
“Instead of feeling like I couldn’t do anything, I decided to do something to make it feel like I was fighting back,” Simone said.
With a newborn and two young ones under three, Simone underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of daily radiation therapies. Her therapies left her exhausted and sick, and she couldn’t get out of bed some days.
The support of family and friends helped her a lot, she said.
“One of the biggest gifts I’ve been given over the past year has been time from people.
“People that I would never expect to know what was going on with me would show up at my door with food. There’s good people out there.”
Now, on medical leave from her job as a French Immersion teacher at Alex Hope Elementary School in Langley, she is undergoing therapy as a result of a failed reconstructive surgery and another attempted surgery, which also failed.
This won’t stop the mother of three from making her contribution to her pink sisters and helping spread the word about breast cancer and pregnancy.
“You never hear about it unless it happens to someone near you, or yourself,” she said.
After finding out about her own cancer, she was told that it was not uncommon for the excess hormones that develop in the body during pregnancy to cause cancer.
Though it has been difficult for her to get out and train, Simone tries to exercise when she can, taking walks with her family.
Her kids, Daisy, 4, Dylan, 2, and Duncan, 1, are too young to completely understand what is going on, but she won’t let cancer stop her family from enjoying time together.
“Enjoy the little things, because some day you’ll realize they’re the big things,” she said, words from a card she received, but ones that have stayed with her through this past year.
“No matter how bad things seem, when you take it one day at a time, it’s manageable.”
Simone is hoping to walk with a team this weekend and finish the 60 km route.
A spokesman for the event said that many young women from Langley are taking part in the event this weekend.
Simone’s website for the weekend event shows that she has raised a total of $1,155 thus far. She is hoping to raise $2,000 in time for the walk.
To make a donation to Simone, or to join her team and walk with her in August, go to www.endcancer.ca/goto/simonemalcolm.