Marianne Laberge said she considers herself to be a lucky woman.
In December 2010, she went for a routine mammogram. A few days later, she received a phone call and learned the test had uncovered abnormalities in one of her breasts.
Although she had to go in for a more extensive mammogram, she was so sure nothing was really wrong that she told her husband he didn't need to come with her.
Laberge, who shared her story at a Sept. 11 press conference promoting the CIBC Run for the Cure and Think Pink Week, said it came as something as a shock when her doctor told her she most likely had breast cancer.
A few weeks after her diagnosis, she had a lumpectomy and began radiation therapy. She has now been cancer-free for more than a year.
Laberge, who works at the Greater Sudbury Police Service's communications centre, said receiving the cancer diagnosis was a shock, but insists “everything that resulted from that day has been good news.”
“My cancer was caught in the very early stages, the tumour was very small and it hadn't gone anywhere else,” she said.
Early detection was the key for me. Without that, who knows where I'd be today.
breast cancer survivor
Laberge said she owes her life in part to the work done by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, which raises awareness of the condition as well as funds for research into breast cancer.
“Those awareness programs are what saved my life,” she said. “Early detection was the key for me. Without that, who knows where I'd be today?”
Laberge said she'll be walking five kilometres in the local CIBC Run for the Cure event Sept. 30, which raises funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Registration for the event starts at Cambrian College at 8 a.m., with the run starting at 10 a.m. Participants can choose between running or walking either one kilometre or five kilometres through the New Sudbury area.
“It's very inspirational, and it's a lot of fun,” said Laberge.
“It's fantastic that all those people come out for one cause. Just about everybody who participates either is a cancer patient or knows somebody who is. You can see how many people are affected by this disease.”
As part of the event's kickoff, Sept. 10-14 has been declared Think Pink Week.
Mary Katherine Coady, volunteer co-director of the local CIBC Run for the Cure, said many local businesses are promoting the run by “pinking up” their stores, or putting up pink decorations, this week.
Besides the run itself, the CIBC Run for the Cure will include an opening ceremony with speeches by local dignitaries and breast cancer survivors, a Zumba class and performances by local musicians, she said.
“It's really a celebration day,” she said. “It's emotional, but it's very happy. We come together to celebrate survivors and the initiative to bring forward a future without breast cancer.”
Last year, the local event drew a record 1,800 participants and raised $380,000. That total includes $50,000 in prize money donated by Olympic gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme after she won the CBC television show Battle of the Blades, Coady said.
The local event has raised more than $2 million over the last 15 years.
This year, organizers are hoping to raise at least $350,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, she said.
For more information about the CIBC Run for the Cure, visit www.runforthecure.org.