Jamie Hykawy knows that breast cancer is striking women at a young age.
Both she and her older sister, both in their 30s, were diagnosed with an aggressive form of the breast cancer.
The two sisters carry a specific gene, BRCA1, that indicates a very high risk for the cancer.
Hykawy, of Sylvan Lake, underwent a range of treatments after discovering a lump in her left breast. She underwent a full mastectomy of both breasts and has been cancer-free for two years.
Her sister Nikki Obrigewitch, of Medicine Hat, is now in her sixth year of being cancer free.
Both underwent hysterectomies as well because their risk for ovarian cancer was higher because of the gene.
They are now the August pin-up girls for a national Run for the Cure 2013 calendar set to come out soon.
Hykawy said that early detection from a self-exam was so important in saving her life. She encouraged women not to be afraid to talk to their physician.
“I’m very healthy and happy now,” said Hykawy, mother of a four-year-old daughter.
“It’s one of those life-changing events. It’s not just a mom’s disease.”
Hykawy will captain the Jamie’s Fight Club team participating in Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s CIBC Run for the Cure on Sept. 30 at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School in Red Deer.
Her team raised more than $17,000 in 2010 and then more than $9,000 last year. It’s hoping to raise between $10,000 and $15,000 this year.
Lois Moreau and Nelda Robertson, co-directors of the Red Deer Run, said that registration and fundraising dollars appear to be better than last year’s figures at this time.
Since 2001, the Red Deer event, which is a one- or five-km walk or run, has collected almost $2 million for the Breast Cancer Foundation.
The national program is the foundation’s largest single-day, volunteer-led event in Canada.
Red Deer’s record year was 2010, when $318,000 was raised.
Moreau and Robertson hope this will be a record year. Online donations are 136 per cent ahead of last year’s donations at this point.
Devan Bell, CIBC district vice-president for Alberta Central, said this is the financial institution’s 16th year of being part of the project.
The Run for the Cure began 21 years ago.
“I think it’s a cause that’s near and dear to all Canadians,” said Bell at news media kickoff on Wednesday at Red Deer’s East Side Mario’s, a national sponsor of the run. “It affects our colleagues, clients and our loved ones.”
CIBC hopes to raise $3 million countrywide through its Pink Collection line of products now on hand.
Organizers of the Red Deer run are holding a couple of fundraisers:
l Family Fair on Aug. 25 at Dovercourt Community Hall located between Caroline and Rocky Mountain House. The event begins at 2 p.m. and runs until the movie, Lorax, ends outside at night. The activities will be affordable for families.
l On Sept. 21 starting at 6 p.m., Pinktacular Party will be held at Bo’s Bar and Grill in Red Deer. A silent auction, raffle, and entertainment will be part of the festivities. Tickets are $15 and include a free drink. For tickets or for more information, call Lois at 403-550-1937 or Nelda at 403-598-6802.