I Walk for Bladder Cancer

We all have our causes, our not for profits, our charities, our volunteer involvements and our community engagement initiatives. One of my priorities is Bladder Cancer Canada. In early 2014 I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. Thanks to an attentive general practitioner, whom I had seen for years, and a wiseacupuncturistt, whom I had also seen for years - I was referred to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Urology. I had two high grade non-muscle invasive tumours removed from my Bladder in March of 2014. Bladder Cancer is known to have a high incidence of recurrence, thus I have maintained regular three month check ups and a series of "BCG Treatments" since surgery.

I am a survivor of Bladder Cancer. I was also well informed and supported along my journey by the fine work of the Bladder Cancer Canada organization. They had strong and accessible resources, and people who had gone through this before me. For patients, that peer support and understanding ear and person to turn to is a wonderful opportunity to seize.

As a patient facing Bladder Cancer, and I'm sure any cancer or disease - one can feel quite alone in the battle. Bladder Cancer Canada certainly helped eliminate any risk of feeling alone through their tremendous support network.

In September of 2014 I organized a walk for Bladder Cancer Canada in Kenora, where we have our summer home. I joined the board of Bladder Cancer Canada in the spring of 2015, staged the second walk in Kenora in September of 2015 and then accepted the challenge of becoming National Walk Lead for Bladder Cancer's September 2016 effort.

I walk because I know that the funds that I raise with you will make a difference. It will make a difference in supporting patients and caregivers. It will make a difference in raising awareness to help others get help early. It will make a difference by generating funds to channel for bladder cancer research.

I walk because bladder cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer amongst men, twelfth amongst women but funded below twentieth in research funding.

I am walking because I know that my efforts, with you - will make a difference.

Please join with me in supporting the Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Walk in 2016. You can register, volunteer and or donate at bccwalk.ca .

Thanks !  @FergDevins

PHOTO CREDIT - Clark Devins Photography

Bladder Cancer Month of May 2016

It is #BadderCancer Month in Canada. The Board of Directors of Bladder Cancer Canada have declared the month of May as Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness month. Although things are kicking off in a rather modest way this year, we are calling upon our volunteers, patients, families, urologists, oncologists, nurses, general practitioners and the public at large to join with us to bring attention and awareness to this fifth most prevalent cancer in Canada.

Some of the milestones this month will include a May 6th lighting of Niagara Falls in yellow, with a touch of red. On May 14th the CN Tower in Toronto will be lit yellow, with a touch of red. BC Place will also be lighting up yellow, with a touch of red at some point during the month.

I am personally proud to shout out the #BladderCancer awareness activity as a bladder cancer survivor myself. I had two non-muscle invasive tumours removed in March of 2014 and have been diligently carrying out my follow up cystoscopies and BCG treatments, since surgery. I'm now at a "six month" check in protocol and so far "all clear". I've taken the active step of getting involved with Bladder Cancer Canada as a board member and in a new role this year as National Walk Lead

YOU can help us this month by wearing yellow as part of our #ShowYellow effort to raise awareness coast to coast to coast in Canada for #BladderCancer. Feel free to retweet @BladderCancerCA or post on Facebook. We also have local Facebook pages in the twenty walk communities across the country. You can also gain more information about Bladder Cancer in Canada at www.bladdercancercanada.org.

Thanks for helping us gain great awareness for Bladder Cancer. And for wellness sake, if you See Red - See Your Doctor !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork 

PHOTO CREDIT: Special Thanks to Cory McCrindle for his Photograph of Jamieson Fregeau during the 2014 Walk in Kenora Ontario

Bladder Cancer Canada Walk Success !

What is success ? As a person fighting Bladder Cancer I must say that I am overwhelmed and so appreciative of family, friends, acquaintances and those who share commitment to community with me for the outstanding support and encouragement that I received as a coordinator of the Bladder Cancer Canada "walk" in Kenora September 21st. When I first heard of the Bladder Cancer Canada "walks" I reached out to see where the closest walk to Kenora was located. I was advised that it was Winnipeg, a two hour plus drive from my summer residence. So...it was then that I inquired about organizing a walk in Kenora. I was advised that if I felt that we could raise $5000, that a walk would be sanctioned in my home town. Well...the rest is a bit of  history. When I posted the original target goal of $5000, I was quite simply blown away by exceeding that overnight. After stepping it up by a couple of $5000 increments, an old friend of mine Walter Oster, from Canada's National Sportsmens' shows, suggested I set it high and go for it. Well, I exceeded my personal goal of $40,000 a couple of weeks back and the latest tally puts our Kenora Bladder Cancer Canada walk likely beyond $50,000.00. That is success !

What have I learned ? I've learned a lot but some highlights for sure. Firstly, along this journey I have learned that many "patients" are in need of the work that Bladder Cancer Canada carries out. They offer support for patients in a time of need, when feeling alone, when knowing not where to turn, who can answers questions, who's experienced this situation a patient may find themself in. A testament to that was a woman named Marg in Kenora who said that she just did not know where to turn four years ago when faced with Bladder Cancer. She walked with her grandson in our walk and is "clear" after four years. Thanks for your story Marg !

Secondly I learned that we have a wonderful sense of community in Canada. I received support for the Kenora Bladder Cancer Canada walk from communities coast to coast to coast. After 30 years at Molson Coors Canada I am truly proud of the community that I have been involved with and the supportive giving friends and associates that I have come to know...some of them well...and some of them just there when I made the call. This sense of community is also supported by a loving, caring, supportive family. Thanks and I love you all so much ! I am also heartened by the support that I received in my home town of Kenora where folks of all ages stepped up to support the walk and reach out to their families and friends to help make a difference in raising awareness and support for Bladder Cancer Canada. It truly was an "all ages" walk and I feel good about awareness heightening as a result of that.

Thirdly, I am struck by the lack of awareness of Bladder Cancer Canada and the state of this disease as the fifth most common cancer in Canada and yet the 19th in rank of funding. The "treatments" that I have undergone are decades old. I can only hope and strive to see new and improved science and therapies approved soon for Canada, to help fight this cancer that unfortunately has a high rate of recurrence. Thanks to the support of the Bladder Cancer Canada walk in Kenora and 19 other communities speckled across this great land, we have moved the needle in awareness and support for unlocking opportunity in the fight against Bladder Cancer in Canada.

Thanks to David Guttman and Jack Moon, two Bladder Cancer survivors that had the vision, commitment and passion to start the Bladder Cancer Canada walks five years ago. Thanks to Tammy at "the office" for Bladder Cancer Canada for her tireless efforts. Thanks to the Best Western Lakeside for your space, the coffee and our starting point this morning. Thanks to the City of Kenora for proclaiming today Bladder Cancer Awareness Day. Thanks to the folks at Casey's for donating $10.00 per luncheon entree sold today (plus) in support of our walk. Special thanks to the volunteers, our mascot Malone, those who walked in Kenora, the local and Winnipeg media for their awesome coverage and support in getting the story out and those of you who have contributed to the walk through donations or through inspiring words of encouragement. I look forward to continuing to work with Bladder Cancer Canada and YOU in fighting the good fight against Bladder Cancer and Cancer in general.

Sincere and heartfelt thanks all around. Cheers ! FERG  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork @BladderCancerCA


Fundraising for Bladder Cancer BeCause...

...in early 2014 I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. I am very fortunate that I caught it very early. Two tumours were removed in March, classified as "non invasive" yet "high grade cancer". 6 "BCG" treatments completed in the spring, maintenance treatments to follow in August and hopefully i've got this thing in check and ready to beat cancer...like so many others have. But the wake up call has certainly prompted me to think about causes. BeCause of this personal situation that I'm facing I can pour my energy and efforts into helping to make a difference in raising awareness about Bladder Cancer, so that others might benefit from early detection or from science that can help fight this disease.

I'm also choosing to be open about my journey. I respect that many may wish to keep silent, keep it personal, not share. My purpose is to be open, share and be on a journey of raising awareness to help others who may be facing a similar challenge, and to lead fund raising and research to help battle this particular cancer.

With love and support from family and friends, and a world class team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences in Toronto I feel confident looking forward on this new "path", but I want to also help to make a difference for others who face similar battles, or for those who are still not even aware of this cancer. I must say that I was not aware of Bladder Cancer and how rampant it is, until it become a personal battle for me.

To help this cause I have started a Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk in Kenora to coincide with the National Bladder Cancer Awareness walk weekend in Canada. I have been overwhelmed by the generous support of so many thus far. I had set an initial target of $5000. Overnight we landed more than $8000 in pledges. Thus...I have continued to "raise the bar" on the target goal for my fundraising and for the event.

Bladder Cancer is the fifth most prevalent cancer in Canada, but funding is not at par. We need to continue to raise awareness to get the research and remedies to fight this cancer. I am hoping that in reading this post you might also join us by participating in supporting me or others in the Kenora community on our walk on September 21st, or check out the national site and see where you might be able to walk or donate closer to your own community.

Or...perhaps this post is simply stimulus for you to think of where you might take the challenge to help make a difference in your community, for a cause that is near and dear to your heart, or loved one or friend...just BeCause.  Thanks and Cheers !  @FergDevins