On National Volunteer Week 2017 we are very excited to feature a post from one of our Ottawa volunteers, Mark and Rebecca Fillier. They have sent us a recent update to Mark and Rebecca’s Mother’s Day Walk story, from April of last year. Mark and Rebecca’s passion for the cause has led us to expand our outdoor Mother’s Day Walk to include one in Ottawa this year. Recently Mark and Rebecca were kind enough to send us an update to their story and here it is.
Here is an update to our continuing journey with Stage 4 Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
After a very successful 2016 Mother’s Day Walk where I managed to finish my fundraising at $10,000.00 we were excited to have been announced the 2016 Top Fundraiser. We started to look at all of the different options that were available to us with the Cruise fundraising prize. After much debate and discussion we decided that we would like to take the 15 day Trans-Atlantic cruise as our prize.
We did have some further setbacks in June 2016. Rebecca ended up in the hospital for 1 ½ weeks due to a large blood clot that had formed in her heart. This was caused by numerous factors and the initial plan was for open heart surgery. We decided against that route and now on top of all the other medications Rebecca is taking blood thinners are part of her daily routine.
Rebecca had her last chemo treatment on August 26, 2016 and we had the doctor’s blessing to go enjoy our vacation. Her cancer had been responding well to the treatments and she was also managing the sides effects well (well as well as could be expected). It was decided that we would wait until we got home to do a follow up CT scan to see where things stood with the cancer. Now with the okay from the doctor we got everything organized and ready to go on this trip of a lifetime.
This cruise started in Southampton, England and finished in Montreal, Canada, with many amazing stops along the way (France, Guernsey, Ireland, Newfoundland and Quebec). This was the perfect vacation for both of us for many reasons. Rebecca is originally from the United Kingdom and hadn’t been home in over 30 years, and although this trip didn’t exactly get her home to Scotland it did allow her to re-experience a boat trip she had taken at the age of 3.
We flew to England on September 7, 2016 and boarded the Azamara Quest on September 9, 2016. All we can say is wow what an experience. Everything from the time we boarded until landing in Montreal was simply AMAZING. We met some amazing people and tried to experience everything we could during our trip, and boy did we have some memories created. During our 4 day crossing of the Atlantic Ocean Mother Nature decided that Tropical Storm Ian was going to give us some added excitement. The ship had to venture south to avoid heading into the eye of the storm (we almost made it to the Azure’s). Ian did present some rough days at sea with 15 foot waves but everyone managed well and we docked in St John’s Newfoundland as planned. During our stop in St John’s we met up with my (Mark’s) family and we covered as much of Newfoundland as possible in 7 short hours. Our journey continued down the St. Lawrence River until we docked in Montreal on September 23, 2016. Again it was an amazing trip and we wished it wasn’t ending, but it was back to reality for us.
On October 3, 2016, Rebecca had her CT scan and we saw the doctor the following week. The news we received was great. As we had shared previously her cancer had spread to her bones, liver and kidneys but the chemo treatments were doing the job. Everything was stable and had shrunk by 50% so it was decided that Rebecca will stay on a chemo break and give her body a break and let it rebuild.
Rebecca’s chemo break lasted until mid-December when her pain had increased really badly. We contacted the doctor and he ordered a CT scan right away. The scan did not bring us the news we wanted but with her symptoms we had expected bad news anyways. The cancer had started growing again and had now spread into her lungs. So we were headed right back to chemo treatments the same day we saw the doctor. The doctor decided that since the chemo treatments she was on before our cruise did their job we would go right back on the same regimen. Well unfortunately her body has not responded as well this time around and we are now awaiting to see a new doctor with regards to a new trial drug focused on TNB (Triple Negative Breast Cancer). Throughout this last year Rebecca has kept her positive attitude and she continue to work full-time. She is an amazing strong woman and continues to fight her battle with this terrible disease head on.
Now on to the Mother’s Day Walk, my continued support to Rebecca has driven me to become further involved with the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and we now have the 2017 walk planned outdoors. This was a vision I had during the 2016 mall walk. I am working with and alongside of some great people in order to make the 2017 Mother’s Day Walk happen. We have secured a location in Kanata (Walter Baker Park) and we are working hard at making this event a huge success. Personally Rebecca and I have raised our fundraising goal this year to $15,000.00 and I am committed to dying my hair pink again as soon as we reach the $7500 mark. As for the 2017 Ottawa Mother’s Day Walk I have a goal set in my mind to raise $100,000.00 in support of Breast Cancer Research through the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. Together we can make a difference and that is why my support and dedication for this cause will not waiver.
Hope for the Fighters
Peace for the Survivors
Prayers for the Taken
– Mark and Rebecca Fillier