Brenda’s Story

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Donor support helps people recover

Thanks to donor generosity, patients can get a reprieve from the mental and physical burden of cancer through donor-funded support programs available at CancerCare Manitoba.

From initial diagnosis through treatment, a person’s body and mind are pushed, stressed and tested beyond comprehension. After receiving four cancer diagnoses in five years, Brenda was emotionally and physically drained. The support programs donors help fund have been an invaluable part of her treatment.

I never had mental health issues before cancer. I really needed the support groups. I don’t know how I would have gotten through my first diagnosis without them. Until you’re in it, you don’t know how cancer is going to affect you,” said Brenda.

Young woman in her thirties wearing a yellow jumper with a light blue collared shirt posing for a photo in a park setting by orange flowers, brown stained wooden arbour.

Brenda’s cancer journey began in 2018 when she found a lump in her breast. She was just 31-years-old and with no family history; her diagnosis was shocking. Her life derailed quickly after her diagnosis.

“My life is drastically different than what I had imagined it would be.” From chemotherapy, lumpectomy and mastectomy surgeries, to radiation and hormone therapy, Brenda says, “If it exists, I’ve had it. It’s been five years this month since it started. I haven’t had a year without cancer.”

Donor funding of crucial support services, like the groups helping Brenda, are vital to treating patients beyond their clinical care. Donor-funded support groups, art therapy, mindfulness and counselling have made a difference for Brenda and her outlook.

“Having the support of people who understand my experience with cancer has been amazing. I’ve made a lot of friends. Having people who ‘get it’ has changed everything.”

The generosity of a donor’s investment in cancer care helps address the psychological impact of the disease, including distress such as anxiety and depression for patients and their families.

Donors have given Brenda and patients like her hope for the future.

I know people who have been living with cancer for over 20 years and I hope that’s me,” said Brenda. “I think about the research being done thanks to generous donors and hope that a wonder drug comes out that’s going to enable me to live my life long into the future.”

Living life to the fullest for Brenda means more time to paint, garden, make meals with family and dragon boat with a group of women affected by breast cancer. Brenda is thankful to people like you whose support has lessened the burden of her cancer.