My $7,800 Birthday Gift

Most Meaningful Birthday Ever

by: Erica Ehm

My $7,800 Birthday Gift

On Sunday, I celebrated my birthday by helping to raise $7,800 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. Fifty five moms and dads joined #TeamYMC in Toronto, Calgary, Victoria and Abbotsford to do the run and raise some money in the process.

The weather called for rain, but karma was kind and the sun shone on the thousands of Canadians who joined forces in the hopes of creating a future without breast cancer. It was a powerful scene, thousands of smiling people of all ages decked out in pink, coming together to make a difference. 

Within the crowds in every city where the event was held, there were survivors, families who lost loved ones, friends helping friends deal with breast cancer, dads running for their wives. Clearly, breast cancer continues to touch too many lives.

Twenty four of us ran, walked, skipped and sweated through the streets of Toronto. Before we headed off, my team broke into a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday for me. At that moment, it struck me how perfect it was to celebrate my birthday right there in the middle of this powerful event surrounded by amazing, talented, energized women and their families. My birthday is a happy one. I'm healthy. I'm loved. I'm inspired. To share a few dollars and a morning run to help those dealing with breast cancer is the LEAST I can do.

There are some encouraging facts out there, like breast cancer mortality rates in Canada have declined by almost 40 per cent since 1986 as a result of increased mammography screening and improved treatments. But the reality is, in 2012, an estimated 22,700 women in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That's an average of 434 women every week...which reminds me I'm due for a mammogram!!

So to those of you who joined one of the YMC teams across Canada, started your own team or walked for someone, thank you for making the time and effort to make a difference. To the 160 people who generously donated hard-earned dollars to our team, and everyone who donated to the cause outside of YMC, your money will be well spent on innovative breast cancer research, education and awareness.

I'm crossing my fingers that next year there will be no need for an event like this. But if there is, I'll be strapping on my running shows and tapping on your door to join my team.