Meet the Founding Five On Our 15th Anniversary 

As part of our celebration of BRIGHT Run’s 15th anniversary, let’s highlight the folks who started it all. 

This month, we talked to Dr. Bindi Dhesy, medical oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) and Associate Professor and Associate Chair (Education) in the Department of Oncology at McMaster  

How did you become one of the BRIGHT Run founders? 

I am a medical oncologist at JCC and we (members of our breast cancer treatment team) were talking about fundraising for breast cancer in Hamilton. Many of our patients would hear about the other runs (Princess Margaret Hospital, Run for the Cure and so on) and wondered why we didn’t have something specific to JCC that they could participate in. A group of us decided to make it happen. 

What was it like trying to plan the first event? Ups and downs? Big problems? Great joys? 

It was very exciting but scary. We hadn’t done this before. We were busy and not experts in planning events. How do we start, where do we do this, what if no one shows up were questions that came up?  

We did run into some doubters but we persisted to make it happen. 

How did it feel to pull off the first BRIGHT Run? 

The first day was so amazing – so emotional to see what we were able to pull off in such a short time with a committed group of people volunteering their time and working hard to make it happen. I had tears in my eyes. 

How do you feel about the fact that BRIGHT Run is now heading towards its 15th anniversary event? Did you think it would last this long? 

I am not surprised. This is such a strong, committed community and we have tapped into an energy that will keep carrying BRIGHT Run! 

Do you have a favourite BRIGHT Run memory? Why? 

  1. My sister was the spokeperson for the 5th Run. I remember her standing there with her two boys. She eloquently spoke to her difficult journey and making it to celebrating that day! Each time a survivor speaks it reminds us of why we do this. 
  1. The very first ribbon cutting at year one. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening! 

How do you explain BRIGHT Run to someone who has never heard of it? 

Beyond the research that the BRIGHT Run supports (whose benefits extends beyond our borders), BRIGHT is a feeling, a celebration of our breast cancer community, their families, friends and supporters. Words cannot capture the emotion of the day as we celebrate those with us and those who aren’t. We all strive to make it so future BRIGHT Runs are totally unnecessary. 

How do you feel about BRIGHT Run’s accomplishments? 

We are the “little engine that could.”  We don’t get the biggest donations but collectively, we consistently raise significant donations to support breast cancer research. 

How do you feel BRIGHT Run impacted the community in year one and now in year 15? 

We are now a known entity and successful at fundraising for breast cancer research. The research has supported important projects and I am very excited about the new BRIGHT Run chair. We expect many great research projects for the future with the recruitment of Dr. Ashirbani Saha. 

How did you contribute to BRIGHT Run over the years you have been/were involved? 

I have been on the executive planning committee since year one and then the sponsorship chair for more than 10 years. Along with the gracious Bender family, I was also behind the balloon decorations at the on-site event and captain of the decorating committee (I’ve certainly missed that with the virtual events!) 

What do you hope for BRIGHT Run’s future? 

My biggest hope is that it is no longer necessary! It may be a dream but in the interim, let’s continue to work hard and help our breast cancer patients through innovative and ground-breaking research.