Theresa's Story

My name is Theresa Carriere.
I am 50 years old.
I have survived breast cancer.

Carriere family

As a child I always felt blessed. I grew up in Sault Ste Marie with 6 sisters and 6 brothers. I was raised by two of the most amazing parents on earth who taught me to maintain a strong faith in our dear Lord, the value of hard work and the importance of family.

I began my journey away from home at Western University, but realized my heart wasn’t at Western. I soon found it when I applied to the Fitness and Health Promotion program at Fanshawe College, where the first few weeks, and playing on the varsity basketball team were enough to make me finally feel like I belonged. To think of making a living doing something I was so passionate about was a dream come true. My heart also found another great thing at Fanshawe – my husband, Bill.

Being married for over 24 years to a wonderful, giving man who would move the earth to me has made me realize how blessed life truly is. We’ve created a happy home with our four beautiful children (Nicole, Danielle, Katelyn and Vincent), staying strong to the values that were taught to us as kids.

Our lives changed in April, 2007. Going in for a routine physical at 43, my sister Maria suggested I ask to have a mammogram done, even though the recommended age is 50 for a healthy woman with no breast cancer history.I was soon called back for a “routine” biopsy – it was the day of the first basketball game for the Ontario championships, coaching the London Ramblers with Bill.

The following week, we got the call from my doctor, telling me that I had breast cancer.

I knew this was not only going to be a physical and emotional challenge for me but for my family as well, and I thank God that Bill was there to catch me as so many emotions and questions flew through my head: What will my kids have to endure while I go through this? What will happen to them if I don’t get through this? How much of my life will I have to give up? I loved what my life was about. I didn’t want to give it up. I didn’t want any part of it to change.

Though we were hesitant to accept help at first, our families and friends were quickly at our side, available to do whatever was needed. We were so grateful that the health care system wasted no time. My family and I were surrounded by an abundance of love and support, and I am so thankful that we allowed them to help because there is no way we could have done this on our own.

Fortunately for me, they caught the cancer early. That was the key. I went through a double mastectomy successfully, thanks to Dr. Jay Engel, Dr. Doug Ross and the nurses at Victoria and St. Joseph’s hospitals. Recovery was quick, thanks to my sister Gloria, the best nurse ever, and the support of so many wonderful people.

I’ve begun a new chapter in my life now, and I have everything I need: a loving family, great friends and, once again, my health. I am able to live again, and because of that, I believe it is my responsibility to give back. ONERUN was inspired by the tough fight against breast cancer, and though running 100 kilometers might be tough, it’s the fastest way to get closer to a cure.

ONERUN is a lesson to learn; that anything is possible, and that one person (with enough love, support and inspiration) can make a difference.