This May I’ll be participating in the Workout to Conquer Cancer, where I’ll be getting active every single day of the month in order to raise money for cancer research and enhancements to care for those with cancer in British Columbia.
I'm participating in this fundraiser for one of my best friends, Tamara O'Brien. The support BC Cancer has provided her this past year has been overwhelming, and I want to continue to support BC Cancer in all they do for her, and others going through the same reality.
Tamara is 22 years old, and is currently diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma. She is among the minority of melanoma patients whose cancer is linked to genetics, and her diagnosis came as a huge surprise to her, myself, and to everyone in our community. The cost of all her scans, surgeries, treatments, and therapy sessions within the past year are estimated at over $200,000. An insane amount of money, especially for someone who has been forced to live on disability. Payment for these treatments could not have been possible without the generous individuals who have donated or raised money for this foundation, as not all cancer care is not covered under Canadian healthcare. Cancer is stressful enough on it's own, and I could not even imagine how much harder it becomes with a financial strain added to the equation. She tells me time and time again how thankful she is for the BC Cancer Foundation, and so am I.
Tamara and I met many years ago at the Canadian National Trampoline Championships. I was mesmerized with her insane talent and strength in the sport, and her ability to be the most comforting and supportive competitor you could ever have. If you were intimidated by her talent, that intimidation soon went away after speaking to her. While competing, she would be bubbly, upbeat, extremely friendly, comfortingly weird, and make you even forget that you were competing against each other. She'd cheer you on at the top of her lungs, even if she only just met you. When I had the opportunity to represent Team Canada, I was most excited to have the opportunity to compete along side her. I remember thinking "Wow, I can't believe Tamara O'Brien is going to be my teammate", as I had looked up to her for so long. I've never told her that, so if you're reading this Tam, don't let it get to your head ;). She grew to be one of my most supportive teammates, despite living on the other side of the country at the time, and is now someone I can't imagine ever not knowing.
I hope that with this fundraiser, Tamara, and the thousands of others diagnosed in BC each year, can continue to be supported throughout their cancer journeys. I hope that it will get us one step closer to better research and treatment options, because no one should have to live with this bullshit. I hope that together, we can change the cancer story.
Thank you so much.
P.S. Check out my instagram to see me workout every single day of the month of May! @sarahwheatley
P.P.S. Copy and paste this link in your browser to read an article about Tamara in the Vancouver Sun: