Val Feser walked into the cancer clinic for her first chemotherapy treatment eight years ago.
On Sunday, the breast cancer survivor shared her story with the 224 people who were participating in the Red Deer CIBC Run for the Cure at Bower Ponds.
“I was diagnosed in July of 2014 with absolutely no history of breast cancer in my family,” said Feser.
“From the very first day, I was surrounded by family and friends who supported me every day. The support from the cancer clinic was second to none and there wasn’t a day where I felt alone on my journey.
“Every time I hear about another person who has been diagnosed with cancer my stomach lurches, knowing the emotional rollercoaster that person will have to endure for months.”
Leah Sieben, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2021, shared her story as well on Sunday. Unlike Feser, Sieben’s family has a “significant history” with breast cancer, she said.
“Val and I both have our own story, but the process is the same,” she said.
The year following her diagnosis “consisted of surgery, starting hormone treatment and adjusting to obvious physical changes. I quickly learned I couldn’t do this journey alone and would need my family and my friends.”
Sieben said everyone involved in her treatment was kind and reassuring.
Both expressed their joy to be participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure, which was being held in-person for the first time since 2019. The last two years have been held virtually.
Janet Dixie, director of the Red Deer CIBC Run for the Cure, said all proceeds from the event, which featured 1K and 5K runs, go to the Canadian Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer.
“Everybody knows somebody who is directly connected to cancer in some way,” Dixie said.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in Canada. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the Government of Canada’s website. Eighty-three per cent of cases occur in women who are 50 or older.
This was the 31st Run for the Cure – CIBC has sponsored the event for the past 26 years. There were several CIBC Run for the Cure events being held across Canada on Sunday.