02/03/2017 11:51 EST | Updated 02/03/2017 11:51 EST

Together, We Can

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Unit and concord in multiethnic team, all hands together

A dream is a wish from the heart. As children, we dream because imagination has no bounds and anything is possible, but as we grow older, we realize that the power of a dream is only as great as its pursuit. We set ambitious goals for ourselves and work tirelessly to achieve them. We dream because we believe there is potential for more. We dream because we recognize that together, we have the ability to make a difference.

World Cancer Day is on February 4 and the global theme is "We can. I can" -- a reminder that collectively, we can impact and reduce the limits of cancer. With the many research studies that have been completed over the years, it is evident that maintaining a balanced lifestyle is essential to our wellbeing.

In preparation for the Rexall OneWalk to Conquer Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, I am committed to training and fundraising with my team, Finelli's Tumorators, named after my father's oncologist. Notwithstanding the unpredictability of winter weather, we will train, raise awareness and funds for a cause very dear to our hearts because we believe that cancer can be eradicated in our lifetime.

The Walk in Toronto has distance options for every type of walker. There is the option to walk 15, 25 or 40-kilometres, all with the opportunity to hear so many stories of hope along the way. No matter the distance, every participant can designate their fundraising dollars to a type of cancer research that means the most to them.

On September 9th, Finelli's Tumorators will continue their commitment to creating a world without cancer by challenging ourselves to complete the 40-kilometre route. While this may seem like a great distance, l will feel exhilarated when I reach the finish line knowing that this small commitment will be making a difference in someone's life battling the disease. The minor aches and pain at the end of the route will be a tribute to my late father, whose courage was remarkable through his suffering and to those who continue to battle this disease.

In 2015, I signed up for OneWalk as a birthday gift to my hero. I knew that this would be the most unforgettable gift a daughter could give -- the gift of hope. To say my father was honoured would be an understatement. Dr. Tony Finelli from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre was a blessing for my entire family.

Dr. Finelli's unwavering commitment and positive attitude gave my father the strength, courage and hope to keep fighting. My father's cancer was unexpected and unforgiving. He promised to walk with me in 2016 -- I had no idea at that time that my father would be joining me from heaven.

Cancer affects no two people the same way. Sadly, for my father, the cancer was aggressive and unexplainable. Happily, thanks to the commitment of Finelli's Tumorators, we will continue to advocate for genitourinary cancer research with the confidence that we will change the course of this disease to give each person a better fighting chance. No one should experience the pain and suffering my father did.

Our dreams are only as great as their pursuit. I dream of a world without cancer, and I am committed to creating one. I will forever honour my father by giving the gift of life to others.

This World Cancer Day, please join me in making my dream -- one that I know is shared amongst many -- a reality. Together, "We Can. I Can."

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