Today marks the first installment of “Meet your neighbours”. Each month I’m looking forward to introducing you to a couple of community members.
I chose Margaret for our first intro because of her involvement in Relay for Life – the timing seemed just right as we enter Relay season. Last year she was one of 33,000 cancer survivors who participated in a Relay event in Canada and she is the Survivor Chair of the Central Toronto event being held on June 13th.
Margaret is a 49 year old school vice-principal, living in Toronto. Many families are affected by cancer. In Margaret’s case, her mother, father, and she herself have been through cancer diagnoses. All diagnosed at different times with different cancers. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph nodes) when she was 20 and with thyroid cancer five years ago.
Here are a few more tidbits of interest:
Q: Did you get any “words of wisdom” that inspired you, that helped you through your cancer journey?
A: Going online and being able to talk to people while I was going through my thyroid cancer was really helpful. It was like having a tour guide walking me through. It took the fear out of the experience. People were able to answer my questions right away. It was awesome. There wasn't a specific thing someone said, but rather the fact that people were there for me, that was absolutely incredible. I was reminded of the power of kindness. It is knowing that people care that gets us through difficult times.
Q: What is one thing you want everyone to know about having cancer?
A: For many of us, cancer is a temporary setback. Somehow we adapt and learn to keep going. We have an inner strength inside that we don't know we have until we need it. There can be a lot of life after a cancer diagnosis. I guess that is more than one thing!!
Q: And now, for the all-important question everyone is asking. If you could choose a superhero power, what would it be?
A: My superpowers would ensure that nobody would have to face cancer alone. I think we all wish we had a magic wand to be able to cure people with diseases such as cancer, or at least be able to make palliative patients symptom free. I love the Relay For Life because it is a huge fundraiser and the fundraising gives me hope for a brighter future.
Believe it or not, Margaret really is an official super hero of international fame. She was recently named a Global Relay For Life Hero of Hope. Now that’s impressive! Read her story about why she relays.