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The Debs: A Team's History

By Debbie Bronnum Fischer

Several years ago, friends of mine decided to put together a team for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure and wanted it to honour me. I was so flattered! They asked what we should call it and Debs' Darlin's came to me.

People are constantly assuming that the spelling is wrong; the first apostrophe is misplaced. It isn't. They wanted to honour me and I wanted to honour the Debs who had fought the battle before me.

Debbie Philips Blizzard and I shared an aunt and uncle and when we got to know each other as girls we decided that we were cousins-in-law.   We had to be something and that at least sounded related!  She was a great girl and she was taken by breast cancer when we all still thought that we were invincible. Breast cancer didn't happen to young women with small children. But the reality was that it did and it took a very special young wife and mother much too soon.

Not too many years later Debi MacDonald Menzies fought the same battle. She was my friend, my confident, my hero. She won her battle, had her beautiful daughter and had an amazing life. Debi held my hand and talked me through my diagnosis, the surgery, the chemo and the adjusting to life after breast cancer. I don't know what I would have done without her insisting that I let people in; that I accept help and comfort and hope, not just for my sake but for my children. And then came her new diagnosis ... and my hero was gone.

Debbie Cole was a year behind me in school, someone I knew to see but not much more. Then, years later she married my cousin Rob and we were family. When breast cancer took her life it seemed so impossible.

Too young, too beautiful, too important to too many people...and they are gone. Four Debs started the same fight at different times and I'm the one left still fighting. Every day of my life is precious, but I know from lessons these women taught me that it can be gone in a flash.  I will never forget them.  I will always cherish the memories of the high school friends, of the young women starting families and facing so many challenges and of the incredible loss.

So, we walk, we run, we raise money and we raise awareness and hopefully we save a lot more Debs!

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