Tribute to all Breast Cancer Patients
On September 30, 2019 ( the day prior to breast cancer awareness month), the Ottawa Community lost a young breast cancer pioneer, Jillian O'Connor at the age of 36 to metastatic breast cancer.
I first met Jillian on October 6, 2015 at an Ottawa Hospital fundraiser for breast cancer research. I was a week post op from my second breast cancer related surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes under my arm that had not gone away with a summer's worth of chemotherapy. I was 50 years old and in complete awe of this amazing 32 year old mother and wife. Despite her dismal prognosis a year earlier while she was pregnant with her third child, she was overwhelmingly optimistic and so grateful to the Ottawa Hospital researchers and oncology team who were still actively treating her so that she could "continue to make memories with her young family for as long as she possibly could".
As I sat listening to her story 4 1/2 years ago, I made a promise that I would help continue her dream to assure that all breast cancer patients receive world class cancer treatment here in Ottawa at The Rose Ages Breast Health Centre.
I am privileged to be healthy enough to participate in this swimming event to raise funds to support research like what Jillian's and my oncologist, Dr. Mark Clemons are doing. One such proposed pilot study is comparing whether zoledronate, which is a medication to help prevent bone metastasis and strengthen bones in breast cancer patients, can be affective at just one dose instead of the current regime of seven doses. If this proves to be the case, this would allow women globally to have access to this important cancer treatment and it would limit the toxicity that is seen right now with the seven dose regime.
I am so grateful to all of those brave breast cancer patients like Jillian who have come before me and have made advancements in breast cancer treatments through participating in clinical trials. I am hopeful that aside from my advocacy and fundraising, that my own "swim study" funded thru the University of Ottawa, Family Medicine Department involving Ottawa Hospital breast cancer patients will make a "Splash" in the Research World and better the lives of women like your moms, grandmothers,sisters, daughters, wives, and friends.
I hope you will support the OlymPINK.org cause to help fund future important Breast Cancer Research at the Ottawa Hospital and I thank you in advance for making all breast cancer patients dream of a future cancer free life. :))
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