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Girls for the Cure

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Like everything else in life, I find it important to spend some time just collecting my thoughts. Even time taken off of blogging is sometimes necessary. So I took a few weeks to spend with the family, and give my full attention to my girls. Then we had the annual back to school ritual, which, I swear, gets more and more expensive each year. We did our usual trip to the office supplies store for school supplies and to buy more specialized equipment for my eldest daughter, who has started her post-secondary studies in fashion design.

The disconnect from some of my regular activities was important for me as well. It's also time to look within, take some personal inventory, and renew my personal affirmations.

There was also a new addition to our family at the end of the summer. Bentley, a lovable grey and white chihuahua has added lots of love and excitement to our household. He caught the eye of my three daughters early in life, as our neighbour is breeding them. He soon captured my heart as well, and who could have imagined that something so small could create so much love and bring the family together in this way?

So here I am, a new school year started, and everyone back to their normal activities.

The fall is often a time for new beginnings. As the children start their school year in a new grade, or even a new school, some of us look at taking on new responsibilities at work, or continue to add to the dynamic of their other activities or interests. Some start a new sport, or get serious about a training schedule.

I decided to continue in my pursuit of giving back to the people who cured me of cancer. After my most recent appointment with my oncologist, in the early summer, I stopped to talk to my pivot nurse, Dail. I offered my time to speak to other cancer patients, or to talk about my experience with other volunteers who either work with patients themselves, or who generously donate their time to raise important funds for a variety of cancer causes.

I was thrilled when my offer was greeted with such excitement and energy, and soon received an invitation to be the guest speaker for a few independent all-girls schools in the Montreal area who raise money for female related cancers for the Saint Mary's Hospital Foundation. "Girls for the Cure" is preparing for its 16th edition, and involves 2,300 girls from six schools. Over the past 15 years they have walked over a quarter of a million kilometres in their quest for a cure.

Yesterday afternoon I did my first speech at The Study. Close to 200 enthusiastic students and teachers attended this special assembly kick-off for this year's fundraising activities. Although it's not always easy to understand the concept of cancer and chemotherapy at their ages, the fact that my daughters are the same age as they are, and the stories I shared about our experience brought a form of understanding to them, and I hope they felt my heartfelt gratitude when I thanked them for the time and effort they are taking to further benefit cancer research and support patients and their families. I also took the time to explain to them how incredibly important it is to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle from an early age. Sports is something that pre-teens and teenagers can relate to much more, as many of them participate in some form of physical activity.

I hope that my prevailing message to the girls came out loud and clear through a description of my experience. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything and overcome any hardship. A positive attitude will enhance your life and surround you with the people who will ultimately not only be a positive influence in your life, but true supporters. As individuals we are the key to our success.

The reception I got from the girls was warm and open. I was encouraged and pleasantly surprised at the number of thoughtful and intelligent questions they asked, and loved their enthusiasm for what they are doing. If this is any indication of tomorrow's success stories and leadership, we certainly are in good hands! I look forward to doing more speeches, and wish everyone involved a successful campaign and beautiful weather for the day of your walk. Know you have the deep gratitude from those of us who have been there.

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