Andrea D’s Story

I found a lump on May 22, 2014. Strangely enough, I felt it as my hand brushed along the side of my left breast while changing into a bathing suit….to go to Master’s swimming.

Thus began my slow maze of fear.

A mammogram and ultrasound came 7 days later. Eight more days till a biopsy, 3 more till an MRI and another week until I received the final diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. My first meeting with my breast cancer oncology surgeon took place June 20th and it would be another 3.5 weeks until my operation on July 16th.

A month of uncertainty. 29 days. 696 hours. 42,000 very slowly ticking minutes until I knew what was going on. And I’m one of the lucky ones. I had the rock star of oncology surgeons remove that 2.6cm lump with clear margins and there was no lymph


Still, I needed 4 rounds of chemo, 21 days of radiation and will be on meds to suppress hormones for years to come. Now I want to help the thousands of women who follow me, because they will. For me, it’s important to direct our philanthropic donations to support breast cancer care and research locally – where we live, and where we receive care. I want to invest in health care here at home where my family, friends and neighbours will continue to benefit directly. I have a dream to help make this happen.

Why I’m swimming for breast cancer technology:

  • I’m not special. My cancer journey story is not a particularly unusual one. And maybe that’s the point. When 1 in 8 women in Ottawa will face this diagnosis, I hardly stand out in the crowd. I’m a Mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter. And at B-TRAiN Swimming, I’m a lane mate.
  • The Terry Fox Marathon of Hope started around a kitchen table. My OlymPINK swim meet fundraiser started in a lane of Brewer Pool. Like Terry Fox, I have been powerfully touched by a terrible disease, but I have also been embraced by the hope and support that comes from medical advances and tender loving care.
  • I feel a sense of responsibility that comes with being one of the “lucky” ones. And that’s why I fundraise for the Ottawa Hospital. Because every piece of technology and every bit of research that means one less woman faces this disease, or has this disease stopped in its tracks sooner, is worth every penny. The problem is there aren’t enough pennies in our health care system for all the technology that can make a difference.
  • So it’s up to us.
  • Joining me in my dream of this swim fundraiser are 6 former Olympian swimmers.  Because they get it. You don’t reach the Olympics without a dream, without dedication, without a lot of hard work and without a team of support around you. And that’s what you need to beat cancer. A dream of better and harder working technology. For your Mom, your sister, your wife… your swim buddy.