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In 2011, Jordan and I shaved our heads together and raised double the donations we had set as our goal. It was an incredible experience.  Our thoughts were with Auntie Sherry that day as well, knowing she was smiling down upon us from heaven above.

In 2015 when we sat down with our boys to share the news of my breast cancer diagnosis, my then 12 year old boy sat back on the couch, crossed his arms, cleared his throat and ever so maturely stated: “Well … isn’t that ironic!”

Quite honestly, I thought…hmmm… really…like he knows what ‘ironic’ means…

When I asked what he meant by ironic, Jordan said: “Well, think about it Mom… we shaved our heads and raised all that money for Bluey Days… it’s like we raised all that money just for you!”

Holy catfish!  His wisdom simply took my breath away!  And, indeed, my son did understand the definition of ironic!  And, yes… it was like we had raised all that money just for me as  I would certainly come to appreciate the impact of all the contributions our community has made through the Foundation to ensure the comfort of patients and avail our healthcare professionals to cutting edge technology.

My cancer experience has been an incredible gift. From the unexpected discovery of a tumor hidden deep within my breast by way of ultrasound technology… a machine purchased from Foundation funding… to the comforts found within the Cancer Care Unit…to the many pieces of equipment involved in my care from diagnostic imaging, surgical services, cancer care and inpatient unit stay for a complication 18 months after diagnosis that included digital mammography, ultrasound, gamma camera, cardiac monitors, blood pressure machines, IV pumps, stretchers, electric beds, digital scales, and goodness knows… my favourite would be the blanket warmer… thank goodness for warm blankets!

The Hospital Foundation has played a significant role in my cancer journey and upon celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year I really had to reflect on the role they have played in both my personal and professional life.

As I celebrate my 25th anniversary working as a nurse in Fort St. John, I realized that my career in FSJ has always been connected in some way to the Foundation.  From 50:50 draws on payday to choosing equipment for Foundation funding on the Maternity Unit at the old hospital, to receiving education funding for courses associated with my nursing baccalaureate and perinatal specialty nursing certification, to providing an opportunity to introduce my children to the importance of contributing to our community.

Over the course of time, my sons contributed their piggy bank savings to the ‘Have a Heart’ Radiothon, sipped hot chocolates as we lit the Angel tree, donated to Light a Moose, solicited donations and shaved heads for Bluey Days.  My husband and I have attended many ‘Be an Angel’ Galas as guests, and a time or two I had the honour of serving the evening as an Emcee.

In 2015 Jordan shaved his head for a third time.  Bluey Day fell on the Saturday before I had my first chemotherapy treatment.  It was an emotional day!  I was in awe of my child and ever so thankful for his experience with a community event that effectively grounded his response to my diagnosis in one of hope and knowingness that I would have everything I would need on my journey.

Everything I needed was right here in Fort St. John.  I had my husband, my boys, my friends and my family.  I had a healthcare team who had the equipment they needed to both diagnose and treat the tumor that had hidden deep in my breast.  I am ever so thankful for the Foundation and this wonderful community I call home.   Thank you!

Written by Viva Swanson