On July 3, Jerilee Nyman registered as a first-time 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 those around us would be so generous!”

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

“I just knew we needed to do it together,” Jerilee said. “It was the perfect way to give back to Juravinski and support breast cancer research.”

Jerilee and her realtor husband Mark, who live on Hamilton Mountain, discussed posting a fundraising request on Facebook. She admits she “felt vulnerable sharing her diagnosis so publicly.”

“My family and close friends were aware of my diagnosis, but a lot of friends and acquaintances online didn’t know, so I was a little apprehensive,” she said. “But the response I have received from the community has been amazing! Each donation warms my heart. I am pleased and so very grateful!”

She believes the opportunity to make donations to the BRIGHT Run has given people a way to show their love and support, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented personal help to her family.

Jerilee has undergone chemotherapy treatments for her Stage 4 breast cancer. Further treatment plans remain flexible.

Meanwhile, she and Mark spent the spring juggling medical appointments and home schooling their two daughters Averie, 7, and Kendall, 4, due to COVID-19. Jerilee has taken a leave from her practice as an optometrist in Burlington. She has been finding strength and courage on this journey through her faith in God, and she is focussing on living fully alive every day. She sees BRIGHT Run as a way to do exactly that.

Jerilee and her team are working on a plan for virtual BRIGHT Run on Sept. 12. She hopes to engage her friends and family in a street celebration.

“We plan to do something special that day,” she said. “We are dreaming of all things BRIGHT and pink!”