Nfld. & Labrador

Rower battled cancer while planning a family — and now helps others do the same

A lot of things in Amanda Hancock’s life changed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer on Feb. 28, 2014.

Amanda Hancock gives back to organization that helped her after breast cancer diagnosis

Rather than fundraising a more traditional way, Core & Coffee offered up fitness and information. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Amanda Hancock's life took a dramatic turn when she was diagnosed with breast cancer on Feb. 28, 2014.

The then-31-year-old had a long list of things to deal with, and one of them was family planning.

Hancock had to move fast, something the member of the Regatta record-setting M5 crew was used to .

That April she met with her doctors here and then headed to Ottawa to have her eggs frozen to preserve her chance to one day have a family.

Katie Wadden and Amanda Hancock, standing, organized Core & Coffee at Rocket Bakery. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Hancock returned home to St. John's and began chemotherapy in May 2014.

"A really big part of my cancer treatment and recovery was knowing that that part of my life after cancer was going to be OK or taken care of," Hancock said.

The expensive process involves travel, and Hancock found help in an organization called Fertile Future

These issues … are sometimes hard to talk about.- Amanda Hancock

"When you're facing a cancer diagnosis as someone of childbearing age, there are options for family planning, and here in Newfoundland it requires women to travel out of province," Hancock said.

"You really need to be aware that these services are out there to access."

The goal of the non-profit group is to ensure every young Canadian diagnosed with cancer has the opportunity to have a child.

Power of Hope for women and men

Hancock took advantage of the group's Power of Hope program, which provides financial assistance to help cover the cost of preserving eggs for women and sperm cryo-preservation for men.

She's since become a board member at Fertile Future but the rower, triathlete and PhD student didn't want to stop there, so she organized a fundraiser.

Sandy Bennett pushed the participants through a tough 60-minute workout. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

With the help of her best friend and fellow rower, Katie Wadden, the two secured a space, a personal trainer, sponsors and a number of local health-care workers to hold the second annual Core & Coffee this past weekend at Rocket Bakery in downtown St. John's, raising close to $2,000.

"It really came together nicely, and in that way people are giving but they're also getting something back by way of fitness and information," said Hancock.

It wasn't an easy fundraiser, as the nearly 60 participants were put through a rigorous core workout thanks to Sandy Bennett of EmpowHer Fitness.

The event surpassed last year's fundraiser, bringing in close to $2,000. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Following the fitness portion, health-care professionals spoke to the mainly female audience about the options available if, like Hancock, they face a cancer diagnosis.  

The event also provided information about Fertile Future and the Power of Hope program.

"It's just really nice to see people come together and form that sense of community and have a safe space to talk about these issues that are sometimes hard to talk about," she said.

Hancock was pleased to see the turnout and have the chance to offer up a workout and information. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

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