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Melanie’s Story

In 2022, 48 year-old Melanie – a wife, mother, and business development professional – was experiencing breast pain and casually mentioned it to her family physician during a routine annual exam. As a precaution, Melanie’s doctor ordered a mammogram to check things out.  She could never have imagined the whirlwind that would ensue after the results of her mammogram came back.

“Within days, I was scheduled for an ultrasound, and then a biopsy at Southlake. I’ve never felt time go slower than it did, waiting for those results,” said Melanie.

On October 31st (Halloween), Melanie’s worst fears were confirmed during a meeting with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. Sara Temple. “It’s Cancer. I’ll never forget those words.”

Melanie was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma – the most common form of breast cancer.

“I was in utter shock. I’m young! I’m healthy! This happens to other people. It took me days to come to terms with the diagnosis and then I had so many questions.”  Dr. Temple took time with Melanie to answer her questions after she was able to process what was happening. Two weeks later, Melanie was scheduled for lumpectomy surgery, followed by 20 rounds of radiation treatment.

“In a time where I felt so vulnerable, I was thankful for my team at Southlake. Dr. Temple, Dr. Conrad, along with my radiation team (Deborah, Tyler and Kim) were absolutely incredible.” They took time with her to explain procedures, address all her concerns, and treated her with compassion and professionalism.  “They make space to build real connections with patients, which is something you need when you’re going through cancer treatment,” said Melanie.

Despite being in the amazing hands of her clinical team, Melanie still felt the exhausting effects of radiation. “I felt like I had run a marathon, every day.”

Luckily, Stronach Regional Cancer Centre is less than 10 minutes from Melanie’s home. “I didn’t have to travel far to get treatment, which allowed me be near my family and in the comfort of my surroundings when I needed it most. That kind of convenience was priceless to me when I was already dealing with so much.”

Today, Melanie has completed active treatment, thanks to the care she received at Southlake. “I don’t say I’m in ‘survivorship’ – I tell people I’m in ‘thrivership’ because that’s what I intend to do.”

Melanie is not only grateful for the care she received, but reflects on how her history with Southlake brought her full circle. “I was on the Volunteer Committee for the Run for Southlake for years, advocating for the importance of donating to support advanced health care in our community. I never expected that in the future, I would be one of the patients I was fundraising to help.”

Today, she wants to help pay it forward for others.  “Southlake made it possible for me to share my story. I want every person that is diagnosed with cancer in our community to have access to the same incredible treatment that I did.  The hospital needs our support to continue providing state-of the-art care and services. Southlake is my hospital; Southlake is our hospital.”

Join us in supporting patients like Melanie and the thousands of others who receive treatment at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre by donating to our HERE is Where Cancer Meets its Match Campaign.

Visit www.southlake.ca/here for more information.