Debbie Pottie is proof positive that there is “life after breast cancer.”
In fact, she said yesterday, if she had never been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease, she never would have met her Bosom Buddies, a local dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors.
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“We often talk about our gifts of cancer,” the 56-year-old Halifax woman said. “One of them is the fact that (we’re) now all connected to each other.”
When she broke her arm a couple of years ago, Pottie said she had team members popping by her Clayton Park home every day, “delivering food, bringing me tea – it was just constant.”
Pottie said her last 10 years as a member of the Bosom Buddies of Nova Scotia have made her stronger, both physically and emotionally. “Although we’re a paddling team, we’re also a very strong support network for each other.”
The Bosom Buddies also hope to let other women know that cancer doesn’t mean life has ended.
“We get together, we laugh (and) we cry,” Pottie said of her team. “And we think we’re 15 when we’re all together, but that’s okay.”
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which starts Thursday, is the perfect time for people to talk about a subject they’re often scared of, Pottie said, adding October could save lives if it serves as a reminder for women to take care of themselves.
“That gives people an opportunity to question ‘Should I go get a mammogram? Have I been doing my regular check-ups,” she said.
Nancy Margeson, CEO of the Atlantic chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, agreed next month’s events, including Sunday's CIBC Run for the Cure, should draw attention to the most common cancer among Canadian women.
But she also emphasized that “breast cancer happens 12 months a year.”