Jerilee Nyman

A photo of Jerilee with her two daughters

On July 3, 2020, Jerilee Nyman registered as a participant in BRIGHT Run 2020 and created a new team, Let’s Bust a Move.

By July 27, the team’s donation total was $22,510.

Jerilee, a 36-year-old married mom of two who was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, is as surprised as anyone.

“I am overwhelmed in a beautiful way,” she said. “I had no idea it would get so big!”

Jerilee had not heard of the BRIGHT Run until she passed through the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) one day earlier this summer. She saw a BRIGHT Run sign in the lobby, took a photo of it and showed her mother-in-law, Gerri, who received treatment for breast cancer at the JCC several years ago.

“We needed to do it,” Jerilee said. “It’s so important to us that the money raised stays here.”

Jerilee and her realtor husband Mark, who live on Hamilton Mountain, discussed posting a fundraising request on Facebook. She admits she “felt vulnerable putting it out there.

“My family and my friends know about my diagnosis, but I have a lot of Facebook friends I haven’t seen in years, so I was a little apprehensive,” she said. “The response has been so supportive. The large donations are amazing. But some people who have been through difficulties, I know that the amount they give is a big deal in their lives.

“It warms my soul,” Jerilee said. “I am blown away. I am very grateful and very blessed.”

She believes the opportunity to make donations to the BRIGHT Run has empowered people to help, given that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person help many wanted to give the family.

Jerilee has had five chemotherapy treatments for her Stage 4 breast cancer, which has spread to her bones. Her treatment plan remains flexible.

Meanwhile, she and Mark spent the spring juggling chemo and home schooling their two daughters Averie, 7, and Kendall, almost 4. Jerilee is an optometrist who practices in Burlington and has been off work since February.

These days, Jerilee and her teammates are working on a plan for virtual BRIGHT Run on Sept. 12. She hopes to engage her neighbours for a street celebration.

“We plan to do something special that day,” she said. “We’ll see what we come up with!”

This profile was first published in the BRIGHT eNewsletter in August 2020.