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I choose joy

Brandon Merenick’s Story

Toronto, Ontario
December 8, 2016

My mom’s middle name was Joy. Her life mantra was always to “choose joy”. Through her diagnosis of ovarian cancer and treatment, she lived by her motto and she accepted every stage with positivity.

In 2014, in honour of my mom, my wife and I went on the Expedition of Hope Machu Picchu to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Canada. I have one distinct memory of when I got to the peak of our hike on the Inca Trails. I was 14,200 ft above sea level, feeling completely exhausted from the hike, but it was also one of the most peaceful moments in my life. I felt so small looking at the vast mountain range in front of me, but in that moment, I felt closer to my mom.

I chose to do the Expedition in honour of my mom, but once I started fundraising and learning more about the disease, it became much bigger than that. On our trip, we met two survivors who we trekked with us, side by side, for 4 days. Joy was watching them conquer the summit with us. Joy was seeing the strength of two women’s celebration of life. Joy was seeing two women overcome the odds of this disease.

I, having not experience the actual disease in my body, would like to pass on my mom’s message. Staying positive is not something I get a passing grade for on a daily basis, but I continue to wear a “Choose Joy” wristband every day because I want to honour the way my mom lived her life. I want to share her positivity and her light to everyone reading this story. I choose joy.

Brandon's Signature

Brandon Merenick

Brandon Merenick with Jethro and Era

Brandon Merenick with Jethro and Era


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