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Motherly Love

Erin Barrett’s Story

Vancouver, British Colombia
October 27, 2016

Erin Barrett with Edie

When you’re a mother, you remember those special moments with your children. When I was in treatment, I remember lying in bed thinking, right now, there are hundreds of thousands of moms fighting with their kids in the grocery store, and I would give anything to be in a grocery store fighting with my kids. All those little moments - the good and the bad I so desperately wanted a guarantee that I would have a lifetime of them. A lifetime of fighting in grocery stores and playing together on swings.

But cancer doesn’t come with a guarantee. It comes with a mixed bag of emotions: fear, love, sadness, anger, despair, and hope. Yet even when I was at my lowest, stuck in bed and unable to be the mother I wanted to be to my two kids, I still felt such love.

I was diagnosed when I was 36 weeks pregnant. At 37 weeks, I gave birth to my daughter, Edie, and gave good riddance to one ugly, giant tumour. Because of my chemo treatments, I had to stop breastfeeding Edie at eight weeks. I felt such profound sadness that cancer was upsetting her little life. I didn’t want that for her. Yet, during my sadness, I experienced such selflessness that I still cannot express my gratitude. My best friend organized countless women to donate their breast milk to me. Every week I would find a cooler full of frozen milk from women I had never met. Mothers who bonded together to help raise my daughter. To do for my daughter what I could no longer do for her myself.

During treatment, I became very aware that for far too many moms, today is the last day they get to spend with their kids. I am one of the very lucky ones. Today is not my last day and I decided I owed to those mothers to embrace each day, to love my kids hard – grocery store fights at all – and make the most of my life. When I was stuck in bed, I was so desperate to get outside and spend time with my kids. Now that I can, I’m not going to let those moments go.

Six months post-treatment, I ran a 5K. I ran the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope. I was slow, and at one point, I had another survivor breeze past me. I loved it. I loved that she left me in her dust. She inspired me to keep moving, to keep running, and to keep putting my health first. Next year, I’m determined to run the entire race right next to her. Matching her step for step and dollar for dollar.

Asking for money is never easy. However, asking for money when you know it will be well spent on saving lives and supporting families like mine is easy. I’ve seen first-hand how research can save lives. Lives like mine. So, please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope. Your donation will help women like me watch their kids grow up. And for that, I can’t thank you enough. 

Erin Barrett's signature
Erin Barrett

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