Ruth Ackerman was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, at 42 years old. She had a large tumour in her breast and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.  Ruth underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Throughout her cancer journey, Ruth counted on the services of the Canadian Cancer Society and treatments at the Sunnybrook Hospital Odette Cancer Centre.

To fight back against the disease, Ruth uses her cancer experience to support other women living with breast cancer. In 2005, she started volunteering her time with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Peer Support service. Since then, Ruth has provided one-to-one support over the phone to 70 women living with the disease.

The value of the Peer Support service is talking to someone who has been through a similar cancer experience. When you are first diagnosed you think you are going to die. Talking to someone who has fought and won their battle is reassuring,” says Ruth.

Ruth also fights back by participating in Relay For Life. In 2011, Relay held special significance for Ruth because for the first time it was held in partnership with the Sunnybrook Hospital where she underwent her cancer treatment.

By joining forces with other cancer organizations, the Canadian Cancer Society is strengthening our efforts against the disease. In 2012, the Sunnybrook Relay For Life event, in support of the Odette Cancer Centre, attracted 700 participants and raised $405,000. At the same time, several other hospitals and cancer organizations across the province joined us in new Relay partnerships opening doors to building relationships based on our common goal – fighting cancer.