A five-year mission to connect with others
Joanne Rivest's Story
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
March 20, 2018
Only three days after her last chemotherapy treatment, Joanne Rivest of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia participated in the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope for the very first time.
“I needed to do it,” says Joanne. “I finished treatment and I knew I could do it. It was great for me – it was a celebration.”
The Walk is the most powerful event of its kind in Canada. Taking place in over 35 locations this year, it brings together people who are dedicated to changing the course of ovarian cancer.
Joanne was one of the last participants to cross the finish line in 2013, but she did it with pride. The very next year, she was one of the first to finish.
When walkers across the country come together at various parks, community centres and even along main streets, a sea of teal can be seen far and wide representing the bond of sisterhood and shared experience.
“I love the visibility of the Walk,” Joanne says. “People come up to us as we’re walking and want to know more information. The Walk is a great way to get people talking.”
During treatment, Joanne got to know a number of women who she frequently saw in the hospital waiting room. She often wondered why she didn’t see these women at the Walk. Joanne knew there were more women out there living with ovarian cancer, and she wanted to connect with them.
“It is my duty to encourage more women and families to walk,” Joanne adds. “You don’t even need to walk - you just need to show up.”
“I’ve learned that majority of the people at the Walk have a story,” she explains. “The Walk is an emotional experience. We all want to feel supported and we need to remind ourselves that we are all on the same journey.”
Joanne admits that she is not a shy person. She attends the Walk year after year on a mission to celebrate not only her journey, but the journeys of others living with ovarian cancer.
“As I reach my fifth year in remission, I find hope in other women and hearing their stories. Hearing from someone who was diagnosed 10 or 12 years ago is inspiring,” Joanne continues. “I want to see more women out there walking with us.”
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or are participating in a Walk for the first time, Joanne invites you to introduce yourself to your fellow Walk participants. They would love to get to know you.
“And for women who want to be there, but can’t— they walk with us in spirit,” says Joanne. “I’m walking for all of us.”
Join the Walk to empower and support the women and families affected by this disease. The Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope takes place in most locations on Sunday, September 9, 2018*.
*In Charlottetown, PEI; Yarmouth, NS; and Ajax, ON the Walk occurs on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
Joanne (right) at THE LADY BALL Halifax