Kjelsi Hamilton is celebrating a milestone, but don’t expect to hear any champagne popping or glasses clinking.
The Nanaimo resident is marking her 30th year since being diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia by giving up alcohol for the month of February, as part of the BC Cancer Foundation’s Lose the Booze challenge.
Lose the Booze participants go alcohol-free for 28 days straight while raising funds for life-saving cancer research at BC Cancer – research that has enabled Kjelsi to be able to say she is cancer-free.
"To say that I am a cancer survivor is a great feeling," she says. "And to be able to fundraise to help others survive is a much bigger and deeper joy."
While Kjelsi hopes Lose the Booze will help kickstart her goal towards clean eating and a healthier lifestyle overall, she also hopes it will inspire her daughter when it comes to giving back.
"I want her to see that mom is doing something to try and make a difference," she says. "Even if it’s just raising a little money – every little bit helps and we can make a difference."
And when temptation strikes (especially after a long day at work), she will have plenty of mocktail recipes on hand.
"My biggest obstacle will be when I come home from working two jobs and want to kick my feet up with a beer or a nice glass of wine," she says. "I will have to be mindful of that!"
With one in two people in British Columbia facing cancer in their lifetime, Kjelsi and the generosity of BC Cancer Foundation donors are helping change the outcome for every person facing the disease.