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October 28, 2017 2:13 am

PG Run for the Cure Raises Over $66,000

Sunday, October 4, 2015 @ 2:53 PM
"I'm just happy to be here" says breast cancer survivor Ankie Nellen.  Photos 250News

“I’m just happy to be here” says breast cancer survivor Ankie Nellen. Photos 250News

Prince George, B.C. – The 2015 Canadian Breast Cancer CIBC Run for the Cure in Prince George raised $66,745 through run participation and corporate donations.

The total number of participants in the 1km or 5 km walk/run on Sunday was 313, which included about 40 employees, and family members, from seven CIBC branches plus more who volunteered their time to help put on the event.

Fortunately the sun broke through the fog that had shrouded the bowl area right about the time they took to the street at 10 am.  Prior to that it had been a morning for mitts and scarves in the chilly temperatures and shadows at City Hall.

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond told the crowd that through the Run for the Cure “we’ve raised over a million dollars right here in Prince George to support families, those people that end up with that horrible diagnosis.  So today we’re here to support survivors, to support those who are going through that unbelievable challenge when they hear that diagnosis.”

Run for the Cure Wall of Hope contains poignant messages

Run for the Cure Wall of Hope contains poignant messages

“So thank you Prince George, research makes a difference and we want to make sure that we continue to do our part.  And if it’s just a walk on a cool, brisk morning, that’s very little when it comes to what some families and some individuals have to go through.”  “Let’s get rid of that breast cancer.”

Mayor Lyn Hall noted “we’ve gone through the last couple of months with a number of fundraisers for cancer research: Cops for Cancer, the Jail and Bail, the Terry Fox Run, all of these events are so important to our community so I want to thank the organizers of this event and I want to thank you for being here.”

“As Shirley says, this disease touches everyone in some form or fashion and today myself and my family are thinking about three very, very close friends that we’ve lost over the last year-and-a-half.”  “It is an absolutely life-altering thing when friends and family deal with this horrific disease.”

Jennifer Atkinson, a member of the board of the Cancian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure noted that “right now you are connecting with over 120,000 people right across the country who have all come out today for the same purpose, to create a future without breast cancer.”  She also said that in the 24-year history the Run has raised over $47 million for breast cancer research, education and advocacy initiatives.

Co-run directors Kristen Sandhu (l) and Melissa Veregin announce fundraising total

Co-run directors Kristen Sandhu (l) and Melissa Veregin announce fundraising total

“We are seeing progress,” said Atkinson, “we are closer to a future without breast cancer thanks to continuous milestones in research focused on prevention, early detention, treatment and care, but we can’t stop now.  In B.C. we are proud to report that we have the country’s highest 5-year survival rate at 91.8%.  That’s the best in the country and that’s exceptional.”

“But the reality is that only 53% of B.C. women actually participate in the free provincial screening mammography program.  If we reached 70% participation, it is estimated that the mortality rate could be reduced by thirty percent.  So we can’t stop now.”

One of the most poignant moments of the opening ceremony each year comes when a cancer survivor relates their very personal eye-to-eye encounter with breast cancer.  This year’s speaker, Ankie Nellen of Vanderhoof, described her meeting with the beast in a very uplifting way.

“I’m a breast cancer survivor and proud of it.  I was diagnosed on October 12th, 2012.  Not diagnosed, I found my lump that evening.  I was having a shower…and wow, there was something here, a lump, scared the heck out of me tell you that because it wasn’t sore like a bruise.”

“So next morning first thing I did was call the doctor’s office, asked for an appointment and got in that same morning and started the process.  That was going through the mammogram, biopsy, surgery, I was going to the surgeon and on November 29th they took my breast off.  Basically I chose a mastectomy because a lumpectomy meant that I had to go through radiation, and I didn’t want that.”

“At that same time I also had to tell my daughters of course that yes, I did have breast cancer and that was a big wake-up call for me, what I was going to go through.  I had to call me daughter that was in the Netherlands at that point to tell her her mom was sick.  She started crying on the phone right away and that was waking up: “Hey you know what, I’m not going to die of this I’m going to survive this.  Come on we’ve got to fight this, this is not something you die of anymore.  That’s why I’m standing here, because of that.”

Led by the George family drummers, the Run for the Cure leaves City Hall

Led by the George family drummers, the Run for the Cure leaves City Hall

“So then I started having chemo in January, 2013.  That was pretty hectic because after two rounds my liver didn’t function properly anymore.  It meant no more chemo at that point.  First recover from that.  Well when I was almost recovered from that I started to have a sore neck.  Yes, I had a blot clot in there.  It meant every day I had to have an injection with blood thinner because I couldn’t get the pills.”

“Ah that was a fun time for my husband because I don’t dare to poke myself.  Guess what, every evening he’s put a shot in there.  Hey that’s fun for him.  Ya he enjoyed it, tell you that!

Well, then I had no option left, had to go through more chemo but with my problems it was really scary too.  That’s when my support doctor in Vanderhoof suggested I should go through an Oncotype DX test.  This a test where they check your DNA.  And guess what, instead of 30% chance of re-occurrence I only had 16% re-occurrence.  Woo!   No more chemo, I’m done with that, back to medication!  Was I ever happy, cuz that was rotten the chemo, tell you that.  Pretty sick of that, made me tired on the couch and grouchy, ask my daughter that’s standing there.”

“So ya,” said Ankie, “that’s why I’m here, to find ways for, because I couldn’t afford that test.  It’s an expensive test, it’s $4800 and I was a lucky person because the research centre in Vancouver was going to pay for that.  So I’m fundraising for that to pay back, a little bit by a little bit and hope they can help, with that money, the next person.”

“I’m just happy to be here.”


Great job everyone!

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