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Winning the Fight

Daffodil Day on April 27 is a special day to reflect, help and show support for those living with cancer



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Holding her arms up side-by-side, her sweater falls back a little, showing her yellow Livestrong bracelet beside the blue Theo's Basecamp bracelet.

"Have you read Theo's story?" she asks, as the shouts and yells of healthy children wash over the conversation at the Blendz coffee park. "It's just awful."

Theo Lazardis is a two-year-old Squamish boy being treated for childhood leukemia.

She knows Theo's dad from her days as a groomer.

Leslie shakes her head to think of a child going through what she's gone through — the unfairness of it all.

"I was so sure that brain cancer was worse than breast cancer... I just didn't think it was going to hit me as hard as it did. But it did. That's hell and back, it really is."

Though it's been five years since the breast cancer, Leslie doesn't feel back to herself at all. There's an emotional toll that she's still struggling with. And some days are harder than others.

"It's the meanest thing out there," she says of cancer. "I know I was very lucky to get through it. I don't know why I got it, but at the same time I'm not back to myself since breast cancer at all."

Jen's story

Jen Leigh knows why she got cancer. In fact, she says she would have been surprised if the biopsy had turned out negative.

Her mom, her grandma, her great aunt and her aunt have all had breast cancer.

"I had a feeling with the family history I was going to get breast cancer, it was a matter of when," she says.

So in the fall of 2007 when she was diagnosed it wasn't a huge shock. In a way, it was good to know she didn't have to wait for the other shoe to drop any longer. It had dropped.

Don't be fooled. It was still a devastating blow and she had all those thoughts that flood your mind when faced with cancer: What am I going to do? Am I going to die from this? What's going to happen to my kids?

The day after she found out, the family was off to Hawaii for a planned vacation. There were, admits Jen, a few tears on the plane.

But it was hard to stay down boogie boarding in the surf with the kids, and soaking up the Hawaiian sun.

Though the cancer was just on one side, Jen knew what she wanted to do. With the family history, she felt that a double-mastectomy was her best option.