'Jump for Hope'


Breast cancer survivors 'Jump for Hope' equestrian fundraising event for breast cancer

Photo by Cealy Tetley

Yesterday, Dr. David Fleiszer, MUHC general surgeon and co-director of Cedars Breast Clinic at the McGill University Health Centre, and the Royal Victoria Equestrian Society held an equestrian fundraising event for breast cancer in collaboration with the Pépinière & St. Lazare Horse Show. Olympic champions Mario Deslauriers, Ian Millar and others competed for a $90,000 purse and five Canadian breast cancer survivors demonstrated their newly acquired skills, as they faced their fears by participating in the "Jump For Hope" to benefit the Breast Cancer Survivorship Fund at the Royal Victoria Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre. While Dr. Gillian Lawrence was the winner of the riding competition, a huge victory was scored for breast cancer survivors as well.

As breast cancer survivor and rider Louise Desjardins explains: "The purpose of learning to ride these horses was threefold: Firstly, riding the horse is equivalent to the unpredictability of the emotions you experience throughout the cancer treatment process and it continues even when you go into survivorship. Sometimes the ride is smooth, sometimes there are falls, but you have to face your fears and get back on the horse. Secondly, this shows that there is life after breast cancer, that you can go on to learn and do new things, face new challenges. And lastly, we needed to raise some money to help fund the urgent need for psycho-oncological support and treatment for cancer patients."

While cancer takes a terrible physical toll on the body, the psychosocial effects of it can be equally devastating. Chantal Boudreau, psycho-oncologist with the MUHC, explains: "Cancer patients are faced with sudden and unpredictable changes in their lifestyle, submitting to a battery of invasive medical tests and treatments, careers often have to be abandoned as patients need time off work to deal with the complications and unpleasant side effects of treatment, and stress, depression and fear upset the balance of the patients and their entire family and social structure." Psycho-oncological support can help them deal with these issues, provide them with useful coping skills and give them a sense of control that they feel they are losing.

MUHC general surgeon Dr. David Fleiszer says: "Treating the physical aspects of cancer is not enough, the treatment is only complete when the psycho-oncological needs of the patients are met as well. This type of treatment is necessary to keep the patient's social and family structure healthy — a support network that is essential to the emotional and mental well-being of the patient."

The equestrian event was followed by the 2006 Black Tie and Blue Jeans Breast Cancer Fundraiser, a gastronomic cocktail featuring fine wines, a martini bar and a silent auction under the tent in the spectacular surroundings of this prestigious equestrian event. Special guest Ms. Sonia Benezra hosted the event, which raised over $50,000.

About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University — the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.

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