Looking Back – And Ahead – With Love

A message from event chair Nancy McMillan 

I look back on 2022 as a phenomenal year for BRIGHT Run. 

Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

And we did! 

After two years apart, staying safe and protecting ourselves and each other, 2022 saw us together again. How inspiring it was to experience the excitement, electricity and enthusiasm of BRIGHT Run, together, in person! It was wonderful to see the smiles, hear the laughter, feel the hugs, remember and celebrate – together. 

The BRIGHT community welcomed hundreds of new supporters – not only patients and survivors, their families and friends, but also many new community partners and blue-shirted volunteers, young and not-so-young. We raised more than $500,000, a record-breaker for BRIGHT. We are a powerhouse every way you look at it! 

As each year ends, we tend to look back and assess how things went. In some ways, that can be easy because the media tend to pick highlights – and lowlights for that matter! 

Among the people the world lost in 2022 was singer/actor/activist Olivia Newton-John, a breast cancer survivor whom I had the thrill of meeting a few years ago at a Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation fundraiser. BRIGHT executive members attended, each wearing a pink satin Pink Lady jacket. As you might guess, we caught her eye. We were definitely hard to miss! 

Our glamjulz designer, Monica Graves, created a custom piece and presented it to Olivia.  I was lucky enough to take that photo. She was lovely, just like Sandy in the movie Grease. And what a powerhouse in the breast cancer fundraising/research world. 

Our BRIGHT Run family also lost members in 2022 and while their names may not be as well-known as Olivia’s, they were stars in their own right. We remember them with love and are grateful for having known them. 

As for research, Dr. Ashirbani Saha, our first BRIGHT Run Breast Cancer Learning Health System Chair, is very busy breaking new ground by spearheading a range of new projects within her first year in this research role.  

Additionally, BRIGHT announced the upcoming opening of our own PYNK Clinic, which will focus on the unique needs of young women diagnosed with breast cancer. It will be one of three such sites in Ontario, with BRIGHT’s Dr. Bindi Dhesy in the lead. It’s terrific to see our hard-earned fundraising dollars at work. 

I look back with tremendous pride in our collective accomplishments spanning so many areas of breast cancer research.  

And I look forward to 2023, with great anticipation and overwhelming hope. Let’s do this!