PEI

'You can still live your life': Cancer patient brings message of hope to Run For The Cure

Noreen Murphy of Kingston, P.E.I., has been living with Stage 4 cancer for three years.

Noreen Murphy was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001

Noreen Murphy says it is 'truly amazing' she has been able to live the past three years with Stage 4 cancer. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Noreen Murphy has been living with Stage 4 cancer for three years.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, setting up an 18-year battle.

This year, she has been named hope engagement lead for Run for the Cure on P.E.I. It's an event that raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Murphy, from Kingston, P.E.I., said Islanders are quick to ask, "Who's your father?" But when it comes to breast cancer, many don't talk about it.

"It's OK to not be OK because you can still live every day," she said. "You can still live your life with these conditions."

Murphy went through chemotherapy and radiation treatment. In 2012, she had a double mastectomy.

Group support

In 2016, her cancer metastasized.

She said it is "truly amazing" she has been able to live the past three years with Stage 4 cancer.

"I am on a drug that is coming through the pipelines," she said. "I am well. I am stable. I have been stable for three years. And I am an ole Irish woman, o-l-e, who is stubborn."

Murphy has developed a support group on P.E.I. for people with metastatic cancer.

"It gives me a comfort, that I know there's somebody out there who gets it, who really truly gets it," Murphy said. "I don't know if anybody can really truly understand that unless they're going through it."

Members of the group have various types of cancer.

"People may come in tense or upset or whatever and I find they leave with a little more relaxation and I think that's what we need," she said.

It took me time to get to this point, you know all the steps of grief, acceptance and anger and all that.- Noreen Murphy

The Run for the Cure on P.E.I. is coming up soon. Murphy is both excited and frightened to share her story at the event.

"That is all I can do because that's all I know, and how it affected me to navigate through the system of health care we have," she said.

Experienced in battling cancer

Murphy said because of her experience battling cancer she can help guide and connect people to services that can help them better than she can.

"There is so much information out there and there are so many sites and it can be overwhelming," she said.

"It took me time to get to this point, you know all the steps of grief, acceptance and anger and all that and you have a ebb and flow with this disease, but it is something I believe needs to be talked about."

The Run for the Cure starts at Confederation Landing in Charlottetown on Oct. 6 at 10 a.m.

Registration starts at 8 a.m., but people can sign up or donate at the Run for the Cure website before the event.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.

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