The Ride to Conquer Cancer is thrilled to announce Jennifer Kerr as our first 2016 Polka Dot Jersey winner! This remarkable woman shares her courageous cancer story and its impact on her decision to join The Ride…
My name is Jennifer Kerr and I live in Toronto with my two young daughters and my husband. I celebrated my 40th birthday in April 2015 and was the most fit I’d ever been. I felt healthy, well, strong and ready to take on the next chapter of my life. Then, in July, I was faced with a chapter I wasn’t expecting: I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
It was terrifying when we first found out. I was initially diagnosed at stage I and I thought I was going to have surgery and then that would be it. I had my entire reproductive system removed, and unfortunately it turned out that some of the cancer removed from my body was actually stage III. I would require preventive chemotherapy and radiation.
When I first started going through chemotherapy at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, it was really hard to get over the idea of cancer as a death sentence. I found it difficult to shake the scary, dark thoughts.
I lost my confidence when the cancer turned out to be so much more advanced than we expected. I am a strong person but I sought help to manage the mental aspects of my treatment and diagnosis. I see a therapist who reminded me how essential my mindset is to my overall health. So my mantra has become: I plan to live. I am excited for the future rather than afraid. It’s why I’ve registered for The Enbridge® Ride to Conquer Cancer® benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
When other people had asked me to do The Ride in previous years, I said no because I felt I was too busy with work and family to make such a big commitment—two little kids are a lot of work! I am so grateful to those people who have done The Ride before because they have contributed to the treatment I am receiving. It’s my turn to give back.
As of mid-January 2016, I’ve raised over $40,000! I started actively fundraising on January 11, and in only a few days this outstanding wave of support poured in. I was also awarded the first Polka Dot Jersey, one of The Ride’s highest honours. It’s a symbol of success achieved by the first 10 Riders to reach $15,000 in their fundraising efforts.
When I found out, I was brought to tears. I can’t believe the generosity of my family, colleagues, friends and even friends of friends.