Her mom and dad had it, both of her sisters had it, and now Sue Gilowski has it.
They all had breast cancer, but since conquering the trials and tribulations of the battle with the dreaded disease, what the family really has is determination.
That determination shone through Sunday, as smiles radiated from Sue’s team of Inner Circles at the CIBC Run for the Cure.
With her friends, family and co-workers cheering her on, Sue, diagnosed with breast cancer in December, is as determined to win her battle as she was to race through the run at Fulton.
“It’s all good,” said Sue, her smile beaming under a hot pink sequined ball cap over her bald head. “I have lots of support from my family, friends and co-workers.”
The 54-year-old mother of four and grandmother of three has always been an upbeat, energetic woman.
However, between the 33 radiation treatments, surgeries, chemotherapy and the unpleasant after-effects, that bubbly spirit tends to wilt.
But with the encouragement of her friends, family and co-workers, Sue gains strength and positive thoughts to get her through those tough days.
“Positive thoughts give you positive results and she takes that with her when she’s sick and puking,” said Brian Gilowski, Sue’s husband.
And after Sunday’s Run for the Cure, her positivity was in full force.
Pink balloons filled the air and women, men, children and even dogs danced to an energetic warm-up before taking to the five-kilometre walk/run.
More than 500 people came out to support survivors like Sue and collectively they raised $66,722 towards a future without breast cancer.
“It just shows the support that’s out there,” said Sue, who walked arm-in-arm with her two sisters in the survivor’s parade.
And it gives her a boost in positive energy, which she will use for the additional treatments that lie ahead.
There are also some statistics on Sue’s side.
According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer now sits at 91.8 per cent in B.C.
And with the funds raised at Sunday’s event ($3.15 million across B.C. and more than $30 million Canada-wide), the goal is to reach a future without breast cancer by 2020.
Awards went to: 28-year-old survivor Megan Fofonoff-Huska – Determination Award for the individual who raised the most donations.
“It was pretty spectacular to see, she had a huge crew of people running with her,” said Maritza Reilly, volunteer communications and promotions co-ordinator.
Timmy’s Team took the CIBC Corporate Spirit Team Challenge Award for the most donations raised by a corporate team.
The Pink Ladies won the Women’s Team Challenge Award for the team of women who raised the most donations and the Bosom and Buoyant Buddies were awarded the Friends and Family Team Challenge Award (presented by East Side Mario’s) for the team in the community which raised the most donations.
Volunteer run directors Lindsay Smith and Monica Tiggelaar commended the thousands of volunteers who made the event possible, saying: “For them, this isn’t about a one-day event with thousands of participants. This is one step in the journey towards a future when no one need fear a diagnosis of breast cancer.”
Support for the run can continue to be sent in, visit www.cbcf.org or visit any CIBC branch.
Several Vernon restaurants are also serving up support through the Ticked Pink Desserts campaign. Crush Bistro, Margherita Cafe, the Eclectic Med and Italian Kitchen are each featuring a Tickled Pink dessert, with partial proceeds of each sold until Oct. 14 going to the CBCF – B.C. region.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Visit www.vernonmorningstar.com for video footage and additional photos from Vernon’s CIBC Run for the Cure.