CIBC Run for the Cure Sept. 30
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter2
Leanne Van Dommelen was vaguely aware of the CIBC Run for the Cure, but had never taken part and didn’t even know anyone who had.
That all changed when the 33-year-old found a lump in her breast.
Despite several insurances she was too young to have breast cancer, particularly with no family history, Van Dommelen could see the lump was growing and asked to have it removed.
As she had feared, it was breast cancer, stage three, and the disease had even spread to her lymph nodes under her arms and in her chest. After eight chemotherapy sessions, 33 radiation treatments and a mastectomy, the cancer is gone and has been replaced by a sense of inspiration.
Van Dommelen was approached by the Athletic Club, where she used to work, and was asked if they could dedicate their team in Run for the Cure — set this year for Sunday (Sept. 30) — to her. It was a request that started Van Dommelen, a wife and mother of three, thinking about the possibilities.
“At that point I never even thought of doing it, so I said yes. Then after I thought about it, I figured why wouldn’t I run?” Van Dommelen said. “At the end of the day, this is the year people will really support me. I just knew I could raise a lot for them and be part of their team.”
Now that she has been brought into the fight against breast cancer, Van Dommelen said she plans on becoming much more involved in the battle — particularly around fundraising. To this end, Van Dommelen organized the Game of Pink soccer fundraiser earlier this summer, as well as a tried and true charity golf tournament.
“Now that I have done some events, there was the Game of Pink, which was awesome, the golf tournament too. I am going to make them annual events and hope that each year they get bigger,” Van Dommelen said. “That’s the plan. I will be doing more of this.”
But before she begins planning more of her own events, Van Dommelen will take part — along with her Athletic Club teammates — in this year’s 21st edition of CIBC Run for the Cure. The event, which attracts 170,000 Canadians in more than 60 communities, kicks off the annual five-kilometre run/walk with opening ceremonies set for 9:20 a.m.
This year more than 5,000 people are anticipated to be in Victoria Park to support the cause.
Van Dommelen will be there among them and while it might appear she is doing so just because she is a breast cancer survivor, Van Dommelen said she actually did a good bit of research into the event before deciding to get involved.
“I did some research on where the money was going and it hit home to me. Researchers in London are getting thousands of dollars and it comes from CIBC Run for the Cure,” Van Dommelen said. “I have looked at all sorts of runs, my friends do the walk in Toronto, but that doesn’t do anything for me, this is where I live. It was important to me that money goes to where I go for treatment and where I will go for follow-up for five years.”
Van Dommelen may have worked at the Athletic Club, but that didn’t make her a runner. Having finished her treatments back in June, Van Dommelen said she knew a five-kilometre run wasn’t something she could just jump into.
But after training for the past couple of months, she said she is determined to achieve her goal of running the entire course.
However, before she can get through the run itself, Van Dommelen said she is also preparing herself for the feelings she will have the day of the event.
“I can see that day being a little bit emotional. Even when I get out there and train, I picture myself at the run with all the support and all the thousands of people who have been affected. I think it will be an emotional day,” Van Dommelen said. “But it marks an end for me, it marks the end of my treatment, kind of the end of my journey I think. I will do the run and it will be over. Except that I will take a little break and do it all over again next year.”
The CIBC Run for the Cure will take place at Victoria Park on Sunday (Sept. 30). For more information, participants, volunteers and donors are encouraged to visiting www.cbcf.org.
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