LETTER: Support local cancer survivor

April is daffodil month. The month that the Canadian Cancer Society picked in the 1950s as a national fundraising campaign for the fight against cancer. The Daffodil was selected to symbolize strength and courage.

In 2008 The Ride to Conquer Cancer was created in Toronto as a mega-fundraising event for ‘The Princess Margaret Hospital’. A non-competitive cycling event that sees thousands of riders travel 200 km over two days. ‘The Ride’ came to British Columbia in 2009. In April 2015 I went on stress leave from my 30-year nursing profession due to issues with bullying and harassment.

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In April 2018, two weeks after signing up to do ‘The Ride’ I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

I have lived with anxiety and depression issues since the age of 16. The doctor working with me during those years continued to warn me about the harms of long term stress on my body. In 2017 an estimated 2,800 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and an estimated 1,800 died of the disease. It is the fifth most common type of cancer for women but is the most serious as presently there are no reliable screening tests.

I started bloating and having back pain in April and was diagnosed with Stage 3 high-grade serous carcinoma with metastasis into the abdominal cavity.

The discomfort and back pain was intense with the rapid weight gains.

Once chemo started it was like I had a new life. Some side effects but able to look after myself and my home independently, although I had many offers of help and support from peers, friends, and acquaintances. (I love Squamish) I was able to continue to be active and biked from Park Royal to the BCCA for any appointments and treatments.

I had a full hysterectomy in August and was not able to complete ‘The Ride’ due to decreased strength.

The coolest thing is that I was able to raise $10,700 that went directly to ovarian cancer research. The generosity of friends, loved ones, and strangers was incredible.

On April 1, of all days, my oncologist told me cancer had recurred, and that the prognosis is not good.

April 15, the second round of chemo initiated.

April 30, I turn 58 years old.

My mission is to try to raise as much awareness and money as I can for ovarian cancer. I know I owe the extra time I have been granted in this life to advances made with research.

I have always believed in the philosophy of ‘Live every day to your fullest as you never know what day will be your last.’

If you would like to support me for ‘The Ride to Conquer Cancer’ there are two ways you can go about doing this.

Google the Vancouver Ride to Conquer Cancer 2019. Where it says DONATE across the top, type in Solo and my name should appear. Caroline Solonenko. Tap on my name and you can read my ‘personal page’ and donate.

Or, go to the website.

Caroline Solonenko, Squamish


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