Dr. Kim Foster: Wicked Health


Why I'm Running For The Cure

I'm doing it for my fairy godmother

On September 30 I’m going to run my first 5 K. I’m doing the CIBC Run For The Cure, and I’m going to join the fight against breast cancer in a way I never have before.

Of course, as a family doctor, I’ve been fighting breast cancer for quite some time now—not personally, but on a professional level. In my 13 years of practice, I have looked in patients’ eyes and given the dreaded diagnosis. I have watched women go through treatment and live to tell the tale. I have also watched women die from breast cancer. I have literally held breast cancer in my own hands, in the operating room, as a resident.

But as for the Run? Well, I have not been, traditionally, what you’d call “a runner.” (Here, I document my path to running-hood. Yes. That’s a word.) For the past several months I’ve been working my way up gradually towards a 5K. (Incidentally, the 5K 101 program is awesome. And free, through iTunes.)

But, when I saw this post from Erica, I thought: Yes. I’m going to do that.

It’s a perfect fit for me: it supports my interests in health and prevention, it supports Team YMC, it supports my personal running goals...but way more important than all that, I’ll be running on September 30 for my fairy godmother. Because breast cancer took her away from me.

Yes, I had a fairy godmother.

When I was very little, my godparents were good friends of my parents, but they were much older, so they were like the grandparents I didn’t have. I assumed my Auntie Glad was my grandmother. And she was the sweetest, kindest, most generous and good-natured person I have ever met.

When my mom first used the word “godmother” to explain the relationship to me, my eyes popped open. I have a fairy godmother? I breathed, hardly believing my ears. At the time, Cinderella was my favourite story, my favourite Disney movie, my fantasy, and my dream. My mother laughed and corrected me: not “fairy,” just “godmother.” This, I’ll admit, was somewhat disappointing for me. I’d hoped for a little magic.

However, the fact was, my Auntie Glad had a very special talent with needle and thread, and she made me a brand-new, hand-sewn dress every year for my birthday. If you can imagine: for a little girl to be given a new party dress every year...you can understand how I secretly thought she was my fairy godmother. No matter what my mom said.

Flash forward several years. After a long battle, breast cancer took her life far too early. I was only 19, just barely becoming a woman myself.

So on September 30 I’m going to run my first 5K in memory of my fairy godmother. If you’re in Victoria, I’d love if you’d join my team! (Walkers are totally welcome, by the way.) If not, please consider joining the fight with a small donation—every little bit helps.

During a training run this past weekend, I ran by a pair of young girls who were playing on the sidewalk outside their house. They stopped to watch me as I approached from two blocks away. Their blond hair shone in the sun as they looked up at me shyly. As I jogged past them I sang out “Hello, girls!”...and then under my breath, whispered, “I’m going to be your fairy godmother.” I’m going to do what I can to make sure those girls don’t have to lose anyone they love to breast cancer. So they don’t have to face the diagnosis themselves.

The fact is, I can’t even sew a button properly...so I won’t be making anyone a party dress anytime soon.

But I sure can run.