Many of our volunteers are students who join the BRIGHT Run to earn the community service hours required to graduate from high school. We wanted to find out what some of them are up to now and what they think of their BRIGHT experience. 

Meet Catharine Bowman, a 21-year-old lymphatic researcher and lymphedema advocate. At the age of 14, Catharine established a novel research effort exploring pharmacological therapies for lymphedema, an incurable lymphatic disease her mother developed after cancer treatment.

Seven years later, Catharine is now a fourth-year student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program at the University of Calgary. At UCalgary, Catharine continues to research pharmacological solutions for lymphedema, and has recently expanded her research program to explore the psychosocial manifestations of cancer-related lymphedema.

In 2016, Catharine became the youngest board director for the Alberta Lymphedema Association, where she leads provincial and national education/advocacy efforts to help people with lymphedema. Catharine also delivers talks to international audiences on her research and advocacy efforts, receiving accolades from medical experts and researchers worldwide. 

In 2019, Catharine was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Healthcare (Class of 2020) and one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 (Class of 2019). 
She is also a talented musician who sings and plays guitar, piano, bass, and drums. 

What is your most vivid memory of your BRIGHT Run days? 
Playing my first “gig” with my band, The Number Stations! Despite inevitably feeling nervous, I remember the BRIGHT Run crowd being incredibly welcoming! This community felt like a new home! 

Why/how did you originally get involved with BRIGHT Run? 
Through my cousins. They’ve been active in the BRIGHT Run community for many years, and invited me to get involved. As a result, the BRIGHT Run became an annual event for my parents and I! 

If you could summarize your BRIGHT Run experience in one word, what would it be? 
Inspiring! 

How would you describe your BRIGHT Run experience to a Grade 9 student who is looking for volunteer hours? 
It is a great way to connect with strong community leaders, other students, and make new friends. The BRIGHT Run community is supportive, encouraging, and positive. You’ll learn new things and have loads of fun doing it! 

What did you learn as a result of volunteering with BRIGHT Run? 
The importance of passion, drive, community, and collaboration in making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. I believe the BRIGHT Run is so successful because of the amazing people behind it and the passion they share for positive change.

To learn more about Catharine’s research, go to:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=PlpR53W1QIE#menu