Danielle Clark remembers exactly where she was and how she felt the day she received the heart breaking news that would shake up her world. Her mother, Christine Peever, revealed to her that she had breast cancer – mere months eariler, Clark’s aunt was also diagnosed with the same devestating blow.
“I will never forget the moment I found out my mom had cancer,” said Clark, who was just 21 at the time of her mother’s diagnosis back in 2009.
“I was just leaving school for the day when I received the phone call. I immediately began crying and could not stop asking ‘why?’… it just didn’t seem fair that our family had to go through this.”
Looking back, the former Langley resident, who now lives in Vancouver, feels her aunt’s diagnosis was a “blessing in disguise” – after all, it’s what convinced her mom to get tested in the first place.
“When my aunt was diagnosed, she begged my mom to get tested and if this had not happened who knows if my mom would have caught it in time,” said Clark.
“As horrible as the situation was, I think my mom and aunt were lucky to be able to relate and lean on eachother.”
During her mom’s battle with breast cancer, Clark bravely watched her go through a partial mastectomy, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments. And, as expected when facing this type of treatment her mom lost all of her hair – but not the way one might think.
“When my mom was first diagnosed with cancer, she decided she did not want to experience waking up to patches of hair on her pillow,” said Clark, who also notes that the morning her mom found the first clump of hair on her pillow in the morning, the two of them headed to their local salon to have it shaved all off.
“Although it was obviously emotional, it showed me how brave my mom is — for the first time since learning of her diagnosis, I felt some sort of positivity.”
Clark decided to get tested for the BCRA gene –the test came back positive.
“I immediately knew I needed to become more educated on this disease and find a way to help my mother and aunt to both stay positive,” said Clark.
Having witnessed firsthand the emotional and physical toll cancer inflicts, Clark takes every possible precaution to avoid this terrible disease. Through her experience, Clark, now 25, is determined to help make a difference for those in the same boat.
In 2010 , Clark took part in her first Weekend to End Women’s Cancer in support of cancer research. And, as the donations began rolling in, it was something exciting for her to share with her mom.
“I think I was able to turn a really negative experience into something positive for our whole family,” she said.
At the end of the first run, her mom and aunt were waiting at the finish line with flowers. The next year, they were both strong enough to walk the event.
“It was really inspiring to have them by my side,” said Clark.
The sisters are both now officially cancer free and the experience has brought Clark closer to her mom and aunt than she ever thought possible.
“They are two of the strongest women I know,” she said matter-of-factly.
Sex and the Suburb is proud to partner with Cascades Casino Resort as an official media sponsors of the 8th annual Women’s Poker Classic — the largest women’s only poker tournament in Canada supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Over the past seven years, the event has raised more than $250, 000 for the non profit organization.
We encourage you, our beautiful, fabulous readers, to do your part in the fight against Breast Cancer by joining us in supporting this great event, returning to Cascades Casino Feb. 14-17.
Cascades Casino Resort is currently looking for sponsorship, donations to the Breast Cancer Foundation, and items for the silent auction. Anyone interested is asked to contact Lisa-Marie Passarelli at 604-539-4424.
For more information, visit www.cascadescasino.ca