First diagnosed with breast cancer at age 43, and again twice after that, Becky Olson is no stranger to facing her own mortality. With her most recent diagnosis in 2009, Olson was told her cancer was ‘consistent with metastatic disease’; a scary situation.
Olson channeled her experiences and re-examined her life, trying to figure out for what she wanted to be remembered; as it turns out, being a good Mom topped her list. She turned to three things in her multiple breast cancer journeys – humour, happiness and hope – which she shared with guests at the 24th Annual Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope, held today at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre.
“Cancer is scary, there’s no doubt about it,” said Olson, “but, it doesn’t mean we can’t find funny moments throughout it. Those lighthearted moments are what get us through, pull us out of our funk and keep us going.” Olson also talked about finding one’s ‘twinkle’. “You never know what tomorrow’s going to bring, so get out and do what you love now,” she encouraged guests. Finally, “never give up hope, no matter what the statistics say,” she said.
The Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope continues to be an important event in our community, raising funds specifically for breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and research. Jody Nesti, Chair, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and breast cancer survivor said, “This event has morphed throughout its 24-year history, from an awareness-based event to one that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local breast cancer care. Women more than ever are being pro-active about their health and are aware of the importance of screening for breast cancer. Thanks to this event and the support of donors across Northwestern Ontario, we are making a difference and creating a community of more and more survivors.”
“Being involved with the Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope is a rewarding experience,” said Committee Member Susan Childs. “Events like the Luncheon are important because every woman should be aware that the incidence of breast cancer is still very high in Northwestern Ontario. We are very fortunate to have right here in Thunder Bay one of the best facilities available. Thunder Bay is such a giving community and this event proves that.”
The ongoing success of the Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope stems from the support of a multitude of sponsors, with Tbaytel leading the way. “Tbaytel is thrilled to once again be supporting the efforts of the Northern Cancer Fund as the title sponsor of this year’s Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope,” said Simone Laatu, Tbaytel Vice President, Chief Technology and Information Officer. “The Luncheon of Hope is a longstanding event that has helped to provide support to breast cancer patients and their families through research, diagnosis and treatment right here in Northwestern Ontario for 24 years and it is an event that Tbaytel is very proud to be a part of once again this year.”
Concluded Nesti, “Our donors and community partners like Tbaytel are the missing piece when it comes to funding equipment. Without their donations and support, we would not have access to the type of equipment we expect to have to treat our families and friends. For the 1 in 9 women and 1-2% of men who will face a breast cancer diagnosis, it’s attendees at the Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope who truly make hope possible.”