Dr. Mark Levine, MD, MSc, FRCP(C) Professor
Department of Oncology, McMaster University
BRIGHT Run Executive Member
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.
“The BRIGHT Run is a passion for me. As one of its founders, I am blessed to be able to continue to participate each year in this wonderful community event.”
Nancy McMillan, MBA, Banker (retired)
BRIGHT Run Event Chair
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.
Nancy says chairing the BRIGHT Run is “a real honour for me and an opportunity to pursue my true passion. BRIGHT Run energy is my jet fuel.”
Kathie Ward, Registered Nurse (retired)
BRIGHT Run Event Day Coordinator
Kathie Ward is one of the BRIGHT Run’s founders.
She is registered nurse who retired in 2018 after 40 years, the last 13 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.
“They wanted an event in our city, rather than having to go elsewhere to do walks and fundraising,” Kathie said. “That’s how it started.”
Lee Prokaska, MA (Journalism), Journalist (retired)
BRIGHT Run eNewsletter Coordinator
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.
“I love the BRIGHT Run’s sense of community, its welcoming spirit and its commitment to making a difference,”
Michele Cardoso, BSc, MRT (T), Clinical Specialist, Radiation Therapy
BRIGHT Run Sponsorship Coordinator
Michele Cardoso is a clinical specialist radiation therapist at Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) and has worked at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for 16 years.
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.
Michele see the BRIGHT Run as “a celebration of the tenacity of the human spirit, our ability to triumph, to love and to remember.
“And through this feeling of incredible connection and strength we are also raising awareness and funds towards vital research. It is amazing to see the dollars at work at the JCC, knowing our researchers are dedicated to improving lives of breast cancer patients.”
Vanessa Sheppard, Sr. Development Officer, Business and Community Engagement, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation
BRIGHT Run Teams Coordinator
Vanessa is a senior development officer with the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation and has been the foundation’s representative on the BRIGHT Run Executive Committee since 2014.
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.
“The BRIGHT Run’s electric and positive atmosphere is truly contagious and gives so many the ability to bring change. Whether they create or join a team, support a team, volunteer their time or a mixture of everything, together we can and are making a difference, a difference we can see right here in our own community at our own cancer centre. “
Aryn Sousa-Moreton, Marketing Professional
BRIGHT Run Volunteer Coordinator
Aryn graduated from the Advertising and Marketing program at Mohawk college and started her career working as the Marketing Coordinator in a small print shop in Hamilton where she met Nancy McMillan. Aryn managed a program called FootPRINT Fund which helps eligible nonprofit organizations enhance their image and expand their services, utilizing Allegra’s marketing and print services. FootPRINT Fund has awarded BRIGHT Run a number of times.
After working with Nancy 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 in Real Estate.
“To me BRIGHT is a family, full of amazing strong people doing amazing work to raise funds for something that touches us all.”
Dr. Bindi Dhesy, Medical Oncologist MD,MSc, FRCPC
BRIGHT Run Sponsorship Coordinator
Congratulations to BRIGHT Run executive member Dr. Bindi Dhesy, who was named the 2015 Outstanding Clinical Teacher of the Year in Medical Oncology. The award was presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting at the Ancaster Mill.
In October, Bindi, who has been involved in the BRIGHT Run since it was “a twinkle in our eyes,” was also appointed at Associate Chair, Education in the Department of Oncology. In making the appointment, department chair Dr. Mark Levine noted that as the Department Education Coordinator since 2012, Bindi “has been a tireless advocate for education.”
In her capacity as the Department Education Coordinator, Bindi was deeply involved in all areas of education for faculty and has worked to support and develop the postgraduate and fellowships programs. Recently, she initiated a strategic plan in education for the department, which will be designed to ensure that the diversity and strength in Oncology is well represented within the department, the cancer program and the faculty.
Bindi has been involved in the BRIGHT Run from the beginning, recognizing the importance of the event’s support for breast cancer research locally.
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.
“Funds raised through the run are critical in funding some of the pivotal initial investigations that go on to form the basis for larger grant applications nationally.”
Wealth Management Professional
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, Steve’s focusses 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.
It means so much to be able to give back, supporting the great efforts of the caring people of the Juravinski Cancer Centre, who help families undergo treatment for breast cancer.
Michele Mandryk, Steel Industry Sourcing Manager
BRIGHT Run Sponsorship Coordinator
Michele Mandryk joined BRIGHT in 2020 with multi-disciplinary experience as the Sourcing Manager of Purchasing at ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton, and has had various progressive roles at the company for over 35 years.
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.
BRIGHT is where I feel that the focus of time and energy has potential to make a positive impact in our community. I look forward to working with a talented and multi-faceted team, lending support, and being part of a greater outcome directed at reducing the impacts of breast cancer.
David Balsdon, Sales and Marketing Executive
BRIGHT Run Event Day Coordinator
Over the years David has participated in all but two BRIGHT Runs along with his family. A Waterdown resident, he and his wife Lisa have two daughters, both of whom are graduates of McMaster University.
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 at the London Regional Cancer Program. 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.
I am able to leverage my experience as a marketing executive and avid runner to help create an event that brings our community together and raises funds for this amazing cause. I am proud to be associated with the BRIGHT Run and everything is stands for.
Lisa Rudd-Scott, Registered Nurse
BRIGHT Run Secretary
Lisa Rudd-Scott is a Registered Nurse working for McMaster University with the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group in cancer research where she met Nancy and was inspired to get involved with the BRIGHT Run.
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.
“BRIGHT for me is important because all funds raised stay locally at the JCC.
I choose to support /volunteer for BRIGHT as there have been some incredible advances in breast cancer care and treatment directly because of BRIGHT funding. ”