Christina’s Run for Cancer

By Cancer Foundation on June 7 / 2016


When I reached the 2k mark, the downpour had completely stopped, and the unbearable heat once again enveloped all the runners and walkers. The air became thicker, almost putrid, and I started to wonder why I was putting myself through this. I had injured my foot prior to the run, and the past few months I had not been training like I had planned.


I signed up to run the 10k in support of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation in January. I couldn’t think of a better way to tell family and friends about the centre which helped me for almost two years. Although I was determined to train for the 10k and fundraise quite a bit of money, I did neither. My father died 10 months ago from leukemia and grief continues to interrupt my plans.


When I was 3 months pregnant, my father had a massive heart attack and almost died. While doctors ran tests to prepare him for open heart surgery, my father was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. The surgery was cancelled and chemo was immediately administered. The heart attack combined with the cancer diagnosis was a devastating blow and I began to experience complications with my pregnancy. The Queensway Carleton Hospital connected me to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation in hopes that a cancer coach could help keep me calm during the remainder of my pregnancy so my baby would not be born prematurely. My obstetrician hoped that the centre would also give me strength and knowledge to assist my father as he coped with the stress and the painful procedures that he would soon require for treatments.


The doctors and nurses kept my father alive far longer than anyone had ever thought possible. I will always be grateful for the ongoing treatment my father received by an amazing medical team in St. John’s, Newfoundland. My father lived long enough to meet my baby son and that would have never happened if treatment wasn’t available. My cancer coach, Bonney, better prepared me to manage my father’s death when it finally happened. Last July, I held my baby son with one arm, and with my free hand, I held my father’s hand. Although he was unconscious, I spoke to my father as he was taking his last few breaths, and the situation, although heartbreaking, was also very serene.


Around the 7k mark, after witnessing an unconscious man being wheeled off the course in a stretcher, I found myself struggling to finish the 10k. I looked around desperately among thousands of faces for my husband and 17 month old son. I knew they were out on the course cheering, but I was nearing the end, and I still had not seen them.


All of a sudden, I could see a sign that I thought might be for me, but from what I could tell, no one was holding it. As I ran closer, my husband was crouched low to the ground, holding a sign up high with one hand, and protectively and lovingly holding on to our son.


I ran off the course and covered both of them in sweaty kisses. I breathlessly thanked my husband and son and I heard a man running by us yell, “Well, if that isn’t motivation to finish this, I don’t know what is!”. I finished the 10k with bittersweet memories about my father’s life and death, and how I could not have managed all of the stress from the cancer diagnosis without the help from my beautiful family and my cancer coach, Bonney.


Thank you to everyone who supported me spiritually, emotionally, and financially (donations) for the 10k. Many who donated had never heard of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and I’m very grateful to those who so generously gave some of their hard-earned money to help such a fantastic facility.

Christina Stacey

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