Irene Stayshyn

In early 2013, I noticed something was changing with one of my breasts. I finally relented and asked my doctor to examine me. He immediately sent me for a mammogram, then a few days later, I was called back for another mammogram, plus an ultrasound. When I received the phone call that I must have a biopsy, I knew something was wrong. My doctor told me on March 8, 2013, International Women’s Day, that I had breast cancer. The following week I made a visit to my surgeon’s office to receive the information that the diagnosis required me to have the breast removed. Since the surgeon, Dr. Reid, was away at a conference, the operation would be scheduled on April 13, 2013. My saving grace, was the gentle way that everyone I came into contact with treated me. I will always be grateful for this.

In late May, I made my first visit to Dr. Mark Levine, my oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre. Again, how did I get so lucky to have such a special person helping me through this journey? My appointments were every three months, so I was getting familiar with the Cancer Centre. In August of that year, I read a beautiful letter in the Hamilton Spectator by Nancy McMillan, talking about the BRIGHTRUN and how it helps people with breast cancer. I immediately signed up as a team captain and sent out emails to my family and friends to join me on the BRIGHTRUN in September. My team was called Reeney’s Rebels. The first and second years I had 18 cousins and friends walk with me. Reeney’s Rebels won Top Fundraising Survivor Team in both 2013 and 2014 which I owe to my team and family and friends for their generosity.

I must make special mention one of my team members, Anne Tennier, who raised almost $5,000 to help Reeney’s Rebels reach $10,000 in 2014. On September 12, 2015, I will again be walking in the BRIGHTRUN along with my family and friends. We all love the excitement of the day and just being together to help such a worthy cause. The funds we raise are used to fund breast cancer research right here in Hamilton. Let’s continue this great work so we can beat cancer.

Bright Run, Sept. 6, 2014 (14)