Article from the Milton Champion
‘Have a Sexy Day’ fundraising campaign launched
Sophie’s Run saves woman’s lifeOnce again the battle against colon cancer is being waged on the Milton front.
And this latest round comes with an ironic twist.
It was about two-and-a-half years ago that Julie Bernard (Julie Heather Photography) signed on to help good friend Nicole Chuchmach with Sophie’s Run, doing so as the official photographer for the near 800-km journey from Milton to New York City.
Eager to support her hockey teammate — who lost her mom to colon cancer and was the centerpiece of the 2008 cross-border fundraiser/awareness campaign in Sophie’s memory — Bernard’s aim was to help educate others on the warning signs of this very preventable and treatable disease.
Two years later, the shutterbug would be benefiting from that knowledge herself.
In fact that’s something of an understatement, given Bernard’s ordeal.
Though just 33 at the time, she began experiencing some abnormal symptoms last summer and — taking Sophie’s Run message to heart — didn’t hesitate to get herself checked out.
What quickly followed was the removal of two polyps--one adenomas polyp — with the potential to become cancerous — during a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. This prompted the need for a full colonoscopy, where a hyperplastic polyp, not likely to turn cancerous but still a concern, was discovered.
Given that these procedures wouldn’t otherwise have occurred for another decade or more — had Bernard not been so proactive — the outcome could have been far different.
“My doctor said, ‘You can count this as the luckiest day of your life,’” she recalled.
“Essentially being part of Sophie’s Run saved my life.”
Bernard’s first call after her frightening ordeal was to Chuchmach, and together the two felt some type of follow-up to the 2008 run was in order.
“With the lesson I learned from my mother’s mistake (not getting checked out sooner), raising awareness about this will always be a part of my life,” said Chuchmach, who now shares some very emotional parts of her life during an event planning course she teaches at George Brown College. “I always knew I wanted to do a follow-up (to Sophie’s Run) but just didn’t know what that would be.”
Enter family friend Mark Demborynsky, who was closely linked to Sophie’s Run and had just launched his own clothing line — PierVision — within the past year.
His new venture and desire to help out provided the ideal marriage. Thus the ‘Have a Sexy Day’ campaign was born.
“It just seemed like the perfect fit,” said Demborynsky, who came up with the catchphrase that now adorns t-shirts being sold in support of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. “The idea is that spending time with your family or loved ones, or basically just doing anything you love to do, is a ‘sexy’ day. And if you’re smart about your health, you’ll have many of these ‘sexy’ days left.”
The ‘Have a Sexy Day’ expression — noted Chuchmach — also serves to try and diffuse some of the embarrassment attached to colon cancer, the second-leading cause of death among all cancers in Canada.
“There’s such a stigma about cancers below the belt, but the number of people dying from them won’t go down if we don’t start speaking about it,” she stressed.
“I was so touched Julie’s story and another friend got herself checked out because of the run and they found stage three (colon cancer). She’s got a good chance for survival, but if she’d waited it might have been too late.”
Added Bernard, “When people say they don’t want to talk about this (colon cancer), I say ‘Would you rather be embarrassed talking about it or die from it?”
The ‘Have a Sexy Day’ campaign was recently launched to a full house at Ned Devine’s, and will continue locally with a wine tasting fundraiser at Casa Americo on Main Street Monday next week at 7:30 p.m. The t-shirts can also be purchased at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m pretty confident this campaign is going to bring some of the buzz back about the importance of getting your butt checked,” said Chuchmach.
|NHL Alumni, Adam Bennett with Team "Have A Sexy Day"|
|Some of the great prizes up for grabs!|
|Kevin and Deanna|
|Jason and Darryl|
|Darryl, Adam, Darcy and Mindy|
|Toronto Maple Leaf Darryl Boyce and some Big lil fans|
|The gangs all here!|
|Darryl meeting fans and giving autographs.|
|Mark, Nicole, Darryl and I|
|Toronto Maple Leaf Darryl Boyce came out to support the "Have A Sexy Day" Team|
|Mark and friends|
|Ryan and Darryl|
|HUGE Leafs fan with #47 Darryl Boyce|
|Kristin, Darryl and Sean|
|Olympic skating suit worn by Catriona Le May Doan. Neat prize! :)|
|Gen, Janine and Janaya|
|Me n my besties. Thanks for the support!|
|In their own world!|
|Nicole gets a lift. Gen tried!|
|Hard to get "normal" poses!|
|New friends. And old|
|A little serenading... ahhh!|
|Christian and Phil|
|Martin, Taru and Doreen|
|Jax and Ashley|
|Amy and Nicole|
|This is ME! :)|
~ Let this be a lesson to you all. Get your butts checked, people! It's the SEXY thing to do! :)