Diane Barbeau has survived breast cancer not once, but twice.
Five years ago, she was diagnosed with the condition, and was treated with radiation therapy. Just a year later, she was diagnosed with a different type of breast cancer, and underwent a double mastectomy.
Barbeau, the director of Health Sciences North's human resources department, said this was a difficult time for her, but she made it through with the support of family and friends.
Ten of those family and friends were there for her once again Sept. 30 as she participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure, wearing the pale pink t-shirt worn by breast cancer survivors. Her team raised $1,500 for the cause.
“I participate in this event to hopefully find a cure and make it so my nieces and sisters and my friends don't ever have to go through this,” Barbeau said.
The event took place at Cambrian College. Participants chose between running or walking either one kilometre or five kilometres through the New Sudbury area.
This year, more than 1,500 people participated in the event, and raised $250,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, which funds breast cancer research and awareness advocacy efforts.
Across Canada, more than 170,000 participated in CIBC Run for the Cure events across 60 communities.
Marianne Laberge was another one of those at the event wearing the pale pink t-shirt of a breast cancer survivor.
In December 2010, she went for a routine mammogram, and was subsequently diagnosed with 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.
“I feel very healthy,” Laberge, who shared her story on stage with those gathered at the event, said. “I'm very fortunate to be here.”
Ottawa resident Robert Gibb was at the event in memory of his wife, Louise, who passed away from breast cancer 18 years ago.
He said he's participated in Run for the Cure many times in Ottawa, but happened to be in Sudbury this weekend, so he decided to come to the event here.
Gibb said Louise was diagnosed with breast cancer after she noticed a lump in one of her breasts. Despite treatments, she was dead a year later, at the age of 44. He said he participates in Run for the Cure “to remember this lovely lady that I was married to — the mother of my children.”
Cindy Tessier was one of a large group of friends who participated in the event in honour of Sudbury resident Helen Ryan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in April and received chemotherapy treatments over the summer.
“You always feel there's not enough you could be doing for somebody that's in this situation,” she said.
“With every step I took in warming up and getting myself in shape, I thought this is nothing compared to what my dear friend Helen is going through. It's my privilege and honour to walk for her and all the others.”
Seventeen paramedics and their supporters were also at the event. They formed a team called Medics for Mammaries.
“We deal so often with breast cancer patients, moving them from their homes up to the hospice or to the hospital for their treatments,” paramedic Heather Krane said.
“I thought this was a great cause for us to be involved with. We see people at their worst. We can do our part to make them feel a little bit better. If we can help raise money to put an end to this disease, I think that's what we should do.”
Also at the event were 12 members of the Greater Sudbury Roller Derby.
Crystal Larose, the roller derby's founder, said her group focuses on supporting causes related to breast health. The team's name is even the “Tatas.”
“We're here supporting every single woman's that's battling it,” she said. “Everyone knows someone that has breast cancer.”