I’m honored to have been featured on Global Montreal with Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard.
Together with breast cancer survivor Mei-Lin Yee, we discuss why our participation in this year’s West Island Spin for the Canadian Cancer Society was more than just another fundraiser.
Watch the replay here:
Jaime: Yes, “Give it All You’ve Got” is the theme of this year’s Great West Island Spin for the Canadian Cancer Society and my next two guests intend to do just that with their team. Mei-Lin Yee is a breast cancer survivor and Sherry Thacker is a personal trainer and founder of the Fabulous Sisters in Vaudreuil. Thank you both for coming in.
Sherry: Thank you.
Jaime: Well, we got the story from you, Mei-Lin.
Jaime: Tell me your story.
Mei-Lin: In 2009, I was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and I was given less than 18 months to live. I was 45 at the time and really not ready to throw in the towel. I went through treatments: radiation, chemo, surgery.
Then in 2014, I began to feel as though my body was giving out on me. I have had 160 chemo treatments by that time and I had already outlived the statistics. I decided, “What do I need to do to keep myself as healthy as possible while I am undergoing all of this so I can live as long as possible?”
What do I need to do to keep myself as healthy as possible while I am undergoing all of this so I can live as long as possible?Mei-Lin Yee
I thought maybe if I start working out, and people told me, “You’re crazy. You have terminal cancer you should not be doing this.” I found Sherry and Sherry was willing to listen to my ideas about where I wanted to go, what I wanted to achieve. She introduced me to her Fabulous Sisters and to her love and her professionalism and her abilities. I started working with her and within about six months, I went into complete remission.
Within about six months, I went into complete remission.Mei-Lin Yee
Jaime: Wow, amazing. Congratulations to you for that.
Mei-Lin: Thank you.
Jaime: Sherry, Mei-Lin is not the only cancer patient that you work with. Tell me why it’s so important for people like Mei-Lin to be working out and to be getting healthy.
Sherry: I think there is a big misconception that when someone gets ill or they get hurt, they feel like they have to stop everything. It is the same thing when I have pregnancies or someone has broken a leg. It’s really the complete opposite. You have to strengthen the body, as much as you can for whatever circumstance you have, be it cancer, a pregnancy, or a broken leg.
You have to strengthen the body, as much as you can for whatever circumstance you have, be it cancer, a pregnancy, or a broken leg.Sherry Thacker
There is a lot of opportunity to work the heart, strengthen the muscles, eat right, get the proper sleep and manage your time. Your internal body is affected greatly by how well you manage your emotions and your sleep and being able to lift weights so that your bones are strong. And that’s going to help in recovery in any instance.
Jaime: Tell me about the Fabulous Sisters. Why don’t you start, Mei-Lin? What is this group? What do they do?
Mei-Lin: We are a group of women, all ages, all sizes, all life experiences, and we support each other. We are not judgmental, we really look towards living our best life and we believe in seeing what we can do as far as paying it forward. That is something that I believe in and that is why the Fabulous Sisters has become so important to me.
I walked in there, I was bloated, balding, discouraged and these women made me feel strong and beautiful.
Jaime: So important. Sherry, you started this group. Why did you create— or how did it start? Maybe you did not start it. Maybe it was by osmosis.
Sherry: Yes. You know what, it was the end of summer about two years ago and a bunch of clients of mine, we were sitting together saying we needed a network that was just beyond going to the gym, working out and going home. You needed the nutritional support. You needed the emotional support.
We decided to meet once a week to start and it really just blossomed in that time. I moved in to a new home, I had ten of my sisters show up, they packed up my home, they cleaned up my old home, they cleaned up my new home, they unpacked my kitchen and within 24 hours, I was moved in.
Sherry: And in this situation, with the Spinathon. Mei-Lin had an idea for a Spinningathon. We had a girl baking 360 cookies. We had another girl auctioning off products that she sells out of her home to raise money. We’ve had unbelievable support.
We did raise our $15,000 that we had as our goal. We have so many volunteers who are coming to help out and help to watch children, when their parents are spinning and so on. The support is overwhelming with these girls.
It’s very old-fashioned. It’s like in the days, when people did show up at your house, when you were a neighbor with new chicken noodle soup and saying, “We found out you were sick and I hope you feel better.”
These women have shown up at neighbors’ homes with flowers when they know they are depressed or they will show up at your door when they know you are going through a hard time. They go out of their way to make you feel supported and loved and someone’s thinking of you. You do not see that anymore.
Jaime: No, I bet a lot of people watching are jealous. They’re in Vaudreuil, right?
Jaime: They run through your gym, Sherry, right?
Sherry: That’s right.
Jaime: Tell me about the Spinnathon because we have to get to it. You wanted to do something to give back to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Jaime: Tell me about it.
Mei-Lin: So the Spinnathon is taking place on February 20th. It is at École Secondaire des Sources, just behind the Marché de l’Ouest. There’s still time for people to sign up. We’re going to spin for four hours.
Sherry: You’ll do four.
Mei-Lin: Up to four. You can spin for less.
Mei-Lin: I can actually do four now.
Jaime: Good for you that is awesome.
Mei-Lin: All of the funds collected are going towards the Canadian Cancer Society. They will be on-site and we have volunteers showing up and bringing music and bringing food and bringing energy and all working towards this great cause.
Jaime: And the Fabulous Sisters will be there. You guys have a fundraising page and I know you said you reached your goal but people can still donate, right?
Mei-Lin: Most definitely, yes.
Jaime: The goal was $15,000?
Sherry: Maybe we can hit $20,000!
Jaime: You can see the support between you. Thank you both so much for coming in.
Sherry: Thank you.
Jaime: It is great to see you both.
Mei-Lin: Thank you.
Jaime: You can get more information on that Canadian Cancer Society, Great Spin in the West Island. It is on the website, convio.cancer.ca and you can find their pages through there as well because I found them last night.
And that is Focus Montreal for this week. Thanks so much for being us with us. Join us again next week when we will meet more Montrealers making a difference. Take care, everyone.