Nancy McMillan is a retired banking professional, having spent 33 years in branch and private banking. She is also a breast cancer survivor, “graduating“ from what she calls the Juravinski Cancer Centre breast cancer survivor (BCS) program in 2008.
Nancy has participated in every BRIGHT Run since the first one in 2008. Her team, McMillan’s Madcaps, is consistently one of the top-ranked fundraising teams.
As the BRIGHT Run’s event chair, Nancy is a whirlwind of activity and ideas. She works hard to make the BRIGHT Run the best experience it can be for participants, volunteers and community partners.
In 2013, Nancy was named a Hamilton Woman of Distinction in recognition of her volunteer involvement with the BRIGHT Run.
Dr. Mark Levine
One of the founders of the BRIGHT Run, Mark Levine was invested in the Order of Canada in 2017 for “his contributions as an oncologist, researcher and clinician who has developed a number of new treatment regimens that have become the Canadian standard in clinical practice.”
With a career spanning more than 35 years, Mark saw in his clinics that for many breast cancer patients, participating in an organized run was part of their healing Journey. After treatment left them weakened physically and emotionally, Mark realized that training for and participating in such an event was empowering and exhilarating for patients.
He believed a local event was important because it would raise funds for breast cancer research in Hamilton. Although he has retired from clinical practice, Mark remains an active member of the BRIGHT Run executive committee and writes for the BRIGHT Run’s monthly eNewsletter.
Advertising, Marketing and Communications
BRIGHT Run Advertising, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Steve Ewoniak survived breast cancer in 2018.
In 2020, he was proud to serve as the first male survivor spokesperson for the first-ever virtual BRIGHT Run. In this role, he met many people who have walked the same path and he admired the strength and courage he found in the families who have experienced the breast cancer journey.
After a wonderful and uplifting experience as survivor spokesperson, Steve was eager to support the work being done through the BRIGHT Run. He was encouraged to join and lead the Advertising Marketing and Communications Committee, a team of dedicated, creative people who strive to promote the event through the web, social media, print, video, and e-newsletters.
As a Senior Associate at a full service brokerage firm, Steve focuses on helping people to identify and reach their financial goals. Passionate about giving back, Steve’s coworkers helped him to raise over $30,500 for breast cancer research in his first year with BRIGHT Run.
Lee Prokaska retired from The Hamilton Spectator in 2015, after 35 years as a reporter, editor and editorial writer.
She is also a breast cancer survivor who participated in the first BRIGHT Run, which took place almost three years after she finished her breast cancer treatment.
Retirement gave Lee the opportunity to become more involved in the BRIGHT Run, taking on responsibility for the content of the BRIGHT Run’s eNewsletter. She also writes about the BRIGHT Run and its people for area newspapers and helps BRIGHT Run members write speeches, articles and letters.
More recently, Lee became the coordinator of the BRIGHT Run’s successful annual silent auction, as well as putting together gift baskets for the penny sale.
Lisa began volunteering for BRIGHT several years ago assisting at community events and during the run ensuring runners are safe crossing roads at Dundas Valley. Most recently Lisa assembled her nursing friends and family to support the first aid tent during the BRIGHT Run.
Her gifting of organization keeps all members of the executive informed and accountable.
Funding breast cancer research is crucial as we move forward in medical advancements in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
“Funds raised through event day are critical in funding some of the pivotal initial investigations that go on to form the basis for larger grant applications nationally.”
Kathie Ward – Event Day
Kathie is a registered nurse who retired in 2018 after 44 years, the last 16 or so as a member of the breast disease site team at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC).
She is also a breast cancer survivor who says her 1998 diagnosis changed her life. She formed intense lifelong friendships after joining a dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors. And after years of intensive care nursing, she moved to the JCC, caring for cancer patients every day.
Those patients wanted a local event, a way to pay it forward to the cancer centre where they received treatment. Kathie sees the BRIGHT Run as her extended family and she loves the electric atmosphere of event day. She was one of the founding members of BRIGHT Run in 2008.
Breast cancer plays a huge roll in the family. Lisa, is a Radiation Therapist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre and is also a breast cancer survivor. Her mother is also a survivor. Their oldest daughter is also a Radiation Therapist, currently practicing in Calgary. Lisa, David and family are members of the Linear Accelerator team.
A long-time community volunteer and event organizer, David joined the executive committee to co-lead the event day planning and execution process.
She was an active member of the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Corporate Community Investment Fund for more than six years, three of those as Chair overseeing its mandate in investing in the Hamilton community by funding projects in fields of health, education, the arts and environment.
Michele and her husband have been members of a local volunteer-based charity that aims to attain greater food access and distribution to lower-income communities.
Cancer has had an impact on Michele’s family, friends and colleagues. There has been much sadness and also moments where, through the support of organizations such as BRIGHT, there is hope with improved programs.
Dr. Bindi Dhesy
Bindi was named the 2015 Outstanding Clinical Teacher of the Year in Medical Oncology and was appointed as Associate Chair, Education in the Department of Oncology the same year.
As the Department Education Coordinator since 2012, Bindi was deeply involved in all areas of education for faculty and has worked to support and develop the postgraduate and fellowships programs.
Bindi and her family are part of the Cancer Busters team and have participated since year one. Many of the Dhesy family members travel from across the GTA to help support the Juravinski Cancer Centre.
Michele is also a recipient of the Pat Mandy Diversity Award, an annual award that honours an employee who embodies the HHS values of respect, caring, innovation and accountability.
Her involvement in the BRIGHT Run began several years ago when one of her colleagues encouraged her to participate. Once she experienced the BRIGHT Run for herself, she jumped right in, joining the executive committee and the sponsorship committee. Michelle is also a Radiation Therapist and proud member of the Linear Accelerator team.
Volunteer & Team Coordination
After working with Nancy McMillan on FootPRINT projects for a few years and seeing just how passionate she is about the BRIGHT Run Aryn asked how she could help out and what she could do as a volunteer with the BRIGHT Run. Nancy asked Aryn if she was interested in becoming the Volunteer Coordinator and the rest is history! Aryn has since moved onto the next step in her career and is working as Director of Operations for a top Real Estate team.
In that capacity, Vanessa handles all the elements of registration for the BRIGHT Run throughout the year and on event day.
She has also taken on additional responsibilities on a volunteer basis as our Teams Coordinator.