The Boobyball Story
Running is a passion for Sarah O’Regan and when she headed to Vancouver after graduating from Western University, Sarah caught the triathlon bug. She was feeling strong and loving her beautiful West Coast runs. Suddenly, she began to notice frequent pain in her chest and was finding it difficult to breathe. Thinking the breathing problem was asthma, Sarah went to her doctor to get to the bottom of it. After a battery of tests, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She was only 23 years old.
The diagnosis was a total shock. At her young age, she didn’t know much about it, didn’t know anyone else in their 20’s diagnosed with it, and assumed it was something that only affected older women. Because her cancer was advanced, Sarah had little time to even let the news sink in. She was rushed into surgery and chemotherapy within days of her diagnosis.
While dealing with aggressive treatment, her best friend Amanda Blakely, would frequently visit from Toronto to cheer Sarah up and lend support. She and Amanda had been best friends since kindergarten. They lived together in university and were like sisters growing up.
During one visit, Amanda told Sarah she wanted to throw an event to raise Sarah’s spirits. Sarah wasn’t paying too much attention to the details and expected a small gathering. But to her surprise, she walked into a full-on fundraiser packed with six hundred friends and family all there to show their support – and Boobyball was born!
Having done chemo that morning and taken a plane from Vancouver to Toronto, Sarah wasn’t sure she’d have the energy for a party. She was really nauseous and felt shy and timid. She wore a hat to cover her bald head and was actually kind of dreading it. However, when she walked in to the crowded room full of friendly faces, her spirits rose. She felt so comfortable she took off her hat. It was a big breakthrough moment – she realized that everyone in the room wanted to be there for her and she wasn’t facing the disease alone. It was the best night.
Sarah would find herself needing more help. Despite treatment, the breast cancer reoccurred about a year later and had spread. Her prognosis was grim. She found herself going through another even more intense round of treatment.
But, against all odds, Sarah was eventually declared cancer free. It was a miracle.
For Sarah, living life to the fullest post-breast cancer has included marrying her husband Jake at age 25 and having three beautiful children before she was thirty.
Sarah continues to attend Boobyball year after year. She even brings her kids to Boobyball Mini! It’s an annual benchmark, reminding her of how far she’s come since that first event. Sarah’s life was forever changed by her cancer experience. At such a young age, she developed the insight and wisdom of a woman far beyond her years as well as an appreciation for all things in her life, big and small. She cherishes every day and is determined to live life to the fullest.