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Taking Steps in Petawawa

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

PETAWAWA – The battle against breast cancer continues.


On Saturday morning, the iconic fundraiser Taking Steps Against Breast Cancer, taking place near the start of Breast Cancer Month, was held at Petawawa's Emerald Necklace Trail, starting at the Centennial Park entrance.

While conditions weren't ideal due to the rain, 25 people took time from their Thanksgiving weekend to take part in the two-kilometre walk, and help raise a projected $5,000 for the cause, a combination of donations and sponsorships.

Lana Gorr, community engagement specialist with the Canadian Cancer Society Renfrew County Community Office, thanked everyone for coming out, including the volunteers, and also thanked the sponsors of the event: EGM Insurance, the presenting sponsor; Hyska's Independent Grocer, the food sponsor; and the Petawawa Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, their supporting sponsor; plus the many trail sponsors throughout the area.

“At the Canadian Cancer Society, the month of October is more than just raising awareness of breast cancer,” she said, “it is about taking action to save lives.”

Gorr said breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death among Canadian women.

“A woman has a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime,” she said. However, thanks to research and other developments, the breast cancer survival rate is now 87 per cent because of improvements in early detection and treatment.

“The Canadian Cancer Society is now the largest national charitable funder of breast cancer research in Canada,” she said, stating so far this year, the organization has dedicated $12 million to fund a wide range of Canadian research projects related to breast cancer.

Petawawa resident Desiree Crevier, the Honourary Survivor of the event, spoke to the participants about her cancer journey. The 36-year-old Petawawa mother of six battled stage three breast cancer. She has undergone treatment and has since had a positive diagnosis.

The day she was diagnosed is one she will never forget, admitting it had left her numb and afraid for the future. It is the support of family and friends, especially her children and husband, that helped see her through it.

“My husband stayed with me through this, and is someone who gave me great memories at a time when there weren't a lot of them,” she said. She also thanked her six children – and one adopted – who were there through this as well.

“When I learned I would lose my hair because of the chemotherapy, I held a head-shaving party,” Crevier said, turning the day into a day of laughter instead of tears.

Another source of support were the people at the cancer clinic in Ottawa, both staff and patients were incredibly supportive.

“I'm currently cancer-free,” she said, although she still has to go for scans and follow up exams. “For now, it has mostly been good days.” 

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