Last summer, I impulsively decided to participate in a triathlon which offered a platform through which race participants could raise funds towards the research performed at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I was overwhelmed by the gracious support, kind messages, and generosity of my friends and family.
Preparing for the race was quite challenging, but also addictive. I have found that, not only are endurance sports a great way to build a connection with the world, but they offer many metaphors for life. That first race itself was a powerful experience for me. As I crossed the finish line, my thoughts were something along the lines of: 1) what a lovely way to remember your mom, 2) what a lovely way to contribute to a cause you care about, 3) woohoo, you survived the swim, 4) where is the bathroom.
Unfortunately, we didn’t “cure” cancer this year. Fortunately, every year there are advances that help alleviate the burden of cancer and improve the well-being of those living with it. I am so grateful for my health and ability to participate in events that collaborate with the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. This summer, I am excited to ride the Northern Pass. I’d like to ask for your support so that Princess Margaret can continue doing its valuable work towards improving the experiences of everyone affected by cancer.
A few words about my mom, Charlotte Klein (This may be the first mention of her on the internet??? Cool.)
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 and spent the following six years undergoing various treatments without a successful outcome. At the time, I was too young to grasp the terminal nature of her disease, but I was aware of her distress on hard days and her vitality on better days. I have been working in research at Princess Margaret for the past year and it is still so wild to think that every day I walk through the same halls that she would have walked through when she was sick. I work with an INCREDIBLE team in the Department of Psychosocial Oncology, which supports people and their families as they navigate the many practical and existential impacts of this illness. It is a privilege to work here and it is a privilege to take this opportunity to benefit the research done here, while honouring the memory of my mother. She is a testament to the importance of our relationships and how we interact with the world. I love hearing people describe her warmth and kindness, how she encouraged people’s interests, and how she made everyone feel special. I remember my mother going to (what I now realize were) amazing lengths to create special moments for all of the people around her. I was recently reading through some letters written by family friends after she died, and this sentiment is loudly shared in all of them. Here are a few of the words repeated throughout the letters: kindness, warmth, wisdom, insightful, generous, inspirational, integrity, genuine, rare… and smile! People loved her smile. I think my mom was a pretty awesome woman.
A few more words
A bunch of other people close to me have also had to spend time at Princess Margaret. Thanks to advances in cancer care and early detection, they are all back in tip-top form. Thank you, Princess Margaret.
BOWW (the team with which I am fundraising for this event)
I bought my first road bike in June last year when I decided to take a shot at triathlon. Although I haven’t been riding for too long, I have definitely noticed a pronounced gender gap in this sport. It’s awesome to see groups like BOWW empowering women/trans/NB folks to ride and building a more inclusive cycling community.
Too long; didn’t read: my mom was cool, endurance sports are cool, inclusivity is cool, cancer exists, let’s support the research at PMCC.