The Canadian Cancer Society introduced its inaugural Relay for Life “Dream Team” at a luncheon at the Fluvarium in St. John’s Friday.
The team, comprised of five business and community leaders from around the province, has raised $43,000 for the society.
Realtor Jim Burton, lawyer Paul Dicks, accountant Junior Burton, business owner Felix Loveless and MHA Yvonne Jones make up the Dream Team.
All members, with the exception of Junior Burton, attended the luncheon.
Cancer survivor Dulcie Osmond received a standing ovation when she spoke about her cancer journey and the help she’s received over the past two years from the Canadian Cancer Society.
An instructor with the College of the North Atlantic in Burin, Osmond was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in July 2009.
“I didn’t mind that number because it was low, but then I found out there was no stage 5. That threw me to a loop.”
Osmond underwent aggressive chemotherapy. The side-effects were brutal, the 62-year-old said.
“I could barely feed myself. I could neither dress nor undress myself. I was almost comatose.”
Osmond was told she’d have to go to St. John’s for treatment to help reduce the swelling in her arms that was caused by lymph fluid buildup.
When someone suggested she stay at Daffodil Place, she said, her first reaction was that it wasn’t an option for her. She thought it would be a dreary place filled with sadness.
That was not the case, she said.
“At any given time, the sounds of laughter can be heard. … At Daffodil Place, there is strong sense of family, with hugs and kisses everywhere.”
Osmond says her family doctor calls her “a living, breathing, walking miracle.” Her oncologist “says a little prayer” before she looks at the CT scan report, she said.
Osmond has a positive outlook on life. She inspires others to face their battle with the same attitude.
A cancer diagnosis makes people stronger, she said.
“I’m certainly not giving in or giving up and will not until my last breath.”
Osmond thanked the Dream Team for their efforts. Daffodil Place was long overdue, she said.
“People who have no need to stay at Daffodil Place will never know what it is like to have this place, this haven, this refuge.”
Dr. Michael Woods, president of the society’s board of directors for N.L., also thanked the team for its fundraising efforts.
“I think putting together something like this — a Dream Team for the Relay for Life — is really what needs to be done to move things forward,” Woods said.
The society’s director of revenue development Al Pelley said the Dream Team concept isn’t new to the Canadian Cancer Society, but is the first time such a team has been put in place in this province.
“Next year, we hope to expand our dream team to have 10 people on it,” Pelley said.
The society’s executive director for the province, Matthew Piercey, said funds raised through the relay will help fund cancer research and enhance the lives of those — like Osmond — living with the disease.
Osmond still gets chemotherapy every three weeks. She’ll continue taking it as long as it keeps the cancer at bay.
She will have another CT scan next week and will get the results when she visits the cancer clinic later this month.
“If you pray, pray for me,” she said.