Sherri Hildebrandt is hoping her story will inspire others to take steps in the fight against breast cancer.
The St. Vital resident will be among those taking part in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure on Sun., Sept. 30 at Shaw Park.
Hildebrandt, 53, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 while studying human resource management at Red River College.
"I found the lump myself, had a mammogram and then a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The next year was a whirlwind of three surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation," she said. "There were complications along the way and there were times I wanted to give up" she said.
But the married mother-of-three didn’t give up. She graduated from her program in 2009 and channelled her experiences into a self-published book titled More than Enough: My Breast Cancer Story, released last year.
"I’ve always kept a journal and processed my thoughts by writing. So when I was diagnosed, I immediately started keeping a running account about what was happening and how I felt about it. I also started an email support group and kept them updated during my treatment year," Hildebrandt said.
"After my treatments were completed, writing about my experience was therapeutic and compiling it was a positive way of processing and recovering. I wanted to inspire others and use my experience to encourage anyone touched by cancer."
Hildebrandt, who is currently a casual resource co-ordinator in a regional health facility, said the book’s target audience includes health care professionals and the loved ones of cancer sufferers.
"Every person involved in the treatment of cancer is a piece of the puzzle, but has little idea of what the patient has gone through prior to seeing them, and might not be aware of what goes on after the patient completes treatment," she said.
"And you want to do whatever it takes to make sure that all the women in your life will never need to fight this — daughters, granddaughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends."
After her treatment, Hildebrandt was advised to start taking a drug called an aromatase inhibitor, which "comes with its own challenges."
"I was told I would need to be on it for five years and the countdown is on. But it’s my best insurance and I’m not about to quit now," she said.
Hildebrandt’s daughter, Lindsay Wright, said the event will be a real family affair.
Wright has been a team captain for the past five years. During her first year — when her mom was too sick to participate due to her treatment — Wright, and her sister Jessica Penner, both took part while eight months pregnant.
"My daughter, Briony, is almost four years old now, and she’s only starting to understand this whole story," Wright said.
"Mostly, she just knows that she loves her Grandma. I catch myself at the most random, everyday moments just being overwhelmed by the sight of the two of them playing and giggling and just enjoying each other. Too many other families weren’t as lucky as we were."
Hildebrandt’s book is available at various Winnipeg stores, including McNally Robinson, and online locations. If ordered at sherrihildebrandt.com, $1 from every book sold will go to CancerCare Manitoba.
For more information about the event, visit www.runforthecure.com.