It’s become a tradition.
But for Guelph’s Tina Jensen, taking part in the Canadian Cancer Society’s CIBC Run For The Cure, means much more than that.
“Yes, it has become a tradition. My kids still participate year after year. My daughter was five when she first took part and now, she’s 14,” Jensen says.
This year’s Run For The Cure goes Sunday in Downtown Guelph.
“But it’s such an important cause. With all of the money raised and with all of the research made possible, I know this has helped those who have breast cancer. And for me, it reminds me of how lucky I am.”
It’s been nine years since Jensen was first diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed in May, 2010. There was no cancer in my family. I had a benign cyst 10 years before. Then, I discovered another one and I didn’t’ think anything of it. I just thought it was nothing. My doctor asked why I didn’t come sooner,” Jensen said.
With chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, Jensen beat the disease.
“It was awful, but I trusted my oncologist and I knew there would be an end. I never once thought that I wasn’t going to pull through,” she said.
Jensen participated in her first CIBC Run For The Cure event in Guelph in 2010.
“I did the walk when I was first diagnosed. This is a constant and it’s something we will do every year,” she says.
“The people who run it are so supportive. It really has become tradition and for my kids too. They look forward to it every year.”
Jensen’s son and daughter, along with 12 other family members and friends join ‘Tina’s Breast Friend Team’ and they venture off on the 5 km walk year after year.
“The people who run the event are so supportive,” Jensen said.
The annual event will take place in 57 locations across the country where participants can walk or run 5 or 10 km to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
It is the largest single-day, volunteer-led event in Canada in support of breast cancer.
The CIBC Run For The Cure is dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, support programs and breast cancer support group facilitator training.
Since it’s inception in 1992, the run has raised over $445 million.
Since then, funds raised have helped reduce the mortality rate by 44 per cent since its peak in the 1980’s.
“You might ask why we’re still raising funds for the breast cancer cause and while we’ve certainly made huge strides in breast cancer, every day, more than 70 Canadians will receive a diagnosis,” says Andrea Seale, Interim CEO for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“We must keep investing in the breast cancer cause so that more and more people can continue to survive their diagnosis and enjoy a better quality of life.”
The Canadian Cancer Society strives to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of those living with the disease.
And CIBC and its team have invested over $80 million in community organizations across Canada and the U.S, through initiatives which include the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run For The Cure and CIBC Miracle Day.
“It’s survivors like Tina that make the CIBC Run For The Cure such an important and inspiring event,” said Andrew Greenlaw, Vice-President of Community and Client Relationships, CIBC.
“As a breast cancer survivor, leading fundraiser and volunteer for the run, she is a great example of the incredible people we have across the country, leading the way with shared purpose to a future without breast cancer. We’re incredibly grateful and humbled by Tina’s commitment and can’t wait to see her, and her community, out in full force on Oct. 6.”
Jensen also holds an annual fundraiser every year, raising about $3,500 annually to support her team.
“It’s hard because there are so many different runs for so many different causes but everyone of us knows someone who’s been through this,” Jensen said.
Today, Jensen is positive and feeling better than ever.
“I feel good today and I’ve just had my nine-year check up. Next year will be the end of medication so it will be the end of this journey.”
But Jensen says she could not have done it without all of the support she has received along the way.
“I joined the Breast Cancer Support Group in Guelph and those ladies are amazing. They provided me with advice, support and friendship while I was being treated,” Jensen said.
“When I was first diagnosed, it was like I was in a bubble. I only knew, maybe, two people who had breast cancer. But having it, I’ve met life-long friends. You gravitate to people who have gone through the same experiences.”
Jensen also attended a retreat for survivors where she was able to share her experiences.
“It was hard on my kids, but I don’t think kids realize how much it impacts them at the time. But I’m sure was hard for them to see their mom go through this,” Jensen says.
“My oncologist said that this will be a huge speed bump but knock on wood, you will get through it. You need to stay positive as hard as that may be. And yes, all diagnoses are different and not everything will be picture perfect, but positivity really is a huge thing.”
Along with the run, Jensen continues to try and support others when she can and has made guest speaking appearances to help others and their families who are living with breast cancer.
“It’s important for me to do this and take part in the walk every year. And it’s important for my family too. My daughter will have to be tested so for her, I would never want her to go through eight cycles of chemotherapy and I hope there will be even better treatments available in the future,” Jensen said.
“And it is about looking into the future for all women. For me too, this is a celebration, a time to celebrate every year that I have beat this.”