Janet (right) training with friends.
It was a normal Thursday in April for senior vice president of BMO Private Banking (wealth management), Janet Peddigrew. But this Waterloo resident was not prepared to hear her doctor say she had breast cancer. It was a huge shock. For the next nine months, Janet would undergo chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.
“We don’t think cancer will affect us, until it does. And it’s a hard, emotional journey and has a huge impact on your family,” said Janet. Telling her family, her husband and two adult children, was difficult, but the support she received from them, her friends and colleagues is what helped her move forward and stay positive.
Originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, Janet was impressed by the high quality health care services she received at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre.
“I was relieved that I didn’t have to travel far for my care and was amazed by how quickly the system moved and how important I felt,” said Janet. “We are so lucky to have Grand River Regional Cancer Centre right here in our community; it made all the difference for my family and I.”
At Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, patients and families have access to a full-service treatment and research centre with specialized areas of care and a range of support programs.
For Janet UW WELL-FIT, a partnership between Grand River Regional Cancer Centre and the University of Waterloo, was an unexpected benefit. Not only did it help her feel better physically but she found a support system among other cancer patients. “UW WELL-FIT was a huge game changer for me,” said Janet. “It gave me strength to get through treatment and a safe environment to have deeper conversations with others who are in a similar situation. I don’t think I would have coped as well as I had if it wasn’t for this support.”
Today, Janet is feeling healthy and strong. Her experience has inspired her to take on a new personal challenge, cycling in The Grand Ride. Finding out about this event from Don Zehr, Grand River Hospital Foundation Board Member and co-chair of The Grand Ride committee, Janet wanted to get involved right away.
In the spring, Janet bought a bike and began training alongside her good friend, Tobi Day-Hamilton. It has become a new sport they both enjoy.
In addition to training, Janet has been fundraising and has almost doubled her goal.
On Saturday, September 8, 2018, Janet will ride as The Grand Ride ambassador and as part of Team BMO and alongside her husband, friends and colleagues. For Janet, this event has been a personal and very meaningful challenge. “Participating in The Grand Ride is a way for me to acknowledge what I went through and give back to the hospital that gave me such great care,” said Janet. “It’s my way of saying thank you.”