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 Hadley Middleton, a first-year student at Trent University in Peterborough. Hadley is in the Trent and Swansea Dual Degree program, majoring in Political Studies. She works with second-year students and program coordinators in the Law and Arts/Business Society as the first-year representative for the students of her program.

What is your most vivid memory of your BRIGHT Run days? 
My most vivid memory of the BRIGHT Run is an interaction I had with a patient in the Juravinski Hospital while managing ticket sales. This interaction is a prominent memory for me, as the woman I spoke with exuded strength and confidence as well as joy while I talked about the importance and the purpose of BRIGHT Run.

On the day of the BRIGHT Run event, I saw the woman and her mother entering the race. My realization of where I recognised the woman from and the prior interaction that I had with her enabled me to develop a deeper connection to the foundations of the BRIGHT Run, and the influence it has on individuals as well as the dedication people have towards the cause.

Why/how did you originally get involved with the BRIGHT Run?
I originally became involved with the BRIGHT Run the summer before I entered high school. My mother, Nicole Middleton, has been a radiation therapist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre for more than two decades. My mother’s involvement in the hospital and cancer centre originally connected me to (event chair) Nancy McMillan, who introduced me to many members of the team. That has provided me with experiences and lessons in the BRIGHT Run that I continue to implement daily as a university student.

If you could summarize your BRIGHT Run experience in one word, what would it be?
I believe it would be compassion. The word encompasses my experience, as it reflects the emotions of the people I worked with and the strangers I met. My experience cannot be limited to my own insight; my experience was moulded by the compassion of the people of BRIGHT Run and those who support its purpose.

How would you describe your BRIGHT Run experience to a Grade 9 student who is looking for volunteer hours?
I would tell them that to earn the required hours with the BRIGHT Run organization is not enough, and that the experience will transform into an involvement with the organization for much longer than originally intended. As a first-year university student, I am still actively in contact with members of BRIGHT Run and talk about the organization and my involvement with my peers. The BRIGHT Run is an important and influential organization that will allow any student looking for volunteer hours to form professional as well as personal relationships, connect with the community and make a difference to individual lives.

What was the oddest thing you were asked to do as a BRIGHT Run volunteer? 
The oddest thing I was asked to do as a BRIGHT Run volunteer was to fulfill the position as a transport/bus host on the day of the event. I believe this was the strangest job I was asked to fulfill due to the responsibility that of this role. As a high school student, the job of motivating participants for the race prior to their arrival was intimidating. The experience was great, and I met many people who were excited for the event.

What did you learn as a result of volunteering with BRIGHT Run?
I have learned many important lessons while volunteering for BRIGHT Run. I have learned the importance of community, the compassion of strangers, and the necessity of health-care funding for research and advancements in the treatment of breast cancer. The topic of cancer is prevalent in the BRIGHT Run community, yet participants and coordinators have re-constructed the meaning and impact of breast cancer with the creation of an organization that has its foundation in support, community, and selflessness.