Surviving Hodgkin's Lymphoma inspired Brianne Urzada to follow her true passion through a career in the world of art. Now, she hopes to inspire others facing a battle with the disease by helping to raise funds and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada through the Light the Night Walk in Regina.
Urzada was only 23 years old when she was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She is now cancer free, but it was only through rigorous treatment that she can now call herself a survivor.
"One of the most challenging parts was watching the people I loved watch me go through something like that," said Urzada.
Urzada said she had been living a healthy lifestyle, and she had no symptoms until she discovered a lump above her right collarbone that turned out to be cancerous. The news was shocking for her, and it only really sunk in once she started treatment.
'Feel like you're stuck'
"Everybody else's life around you keeps going, and you feel like you're stuck and you're in this treatment regime and you don't know what the outcome will be … At the end of treatment, you kind of feel like you've been left in the dust in some ways."
Urzada had completed a double degree with a bachelor of arts in visual arts and a bachelor of arts education. She had a career in education, but treatment had brought a change in perspective.
"I kind of looked at my life and thought, 'What do I want to do? What am I able to do? How can I live life now? Because that's what I focus on every day is trying to be present in the now," said Urzada.
She started her own art business called Art House in her home. Her business centres around an appreciation for the healing power of art, and she even offers free painting classes for cancer patients and survivors. Urzada said she wanted a creative outlet when she was going through treatment, and that inspired her to offer it to others.
"I want to be with people who've gone through the same journey I have," said Urzada.
Urzada is the local honoured hero at this year's Light the Night Walk in Regina.
"Anybody who has a successful outcome like me I think should be out there and telling people it can be okay," she said.
"I'm going because I know it's one of the only ways that I can give back is to help raise funds for something that's so important."
Regina's walk is Sept. 23 on the Legislative grounds. Next Saturday, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada will host a Light the Night Walk in Saskatoon at Kiwanis Park North.