Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who Are You Running For?

Shan was happiest during the dog days of summer. A time when Shan could feel the heat of the sun, swim off the sailboat, join friends at the beach or their cottage. To wake up to blue sky and sunshine was her happy place. We still call them “Shan Days.”

Shan was only 24 when she lost her life to breast cancer. Shan’s symptoms were misdiagnosed by a number of health care professionals and she was diagnosed late with metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her bones and liver. Shan faced the tests and breast cancer treatments with determined optimism, but it was too little, too late and Shan passed away a few months later.

In an effort to make a difference for young women following in Shan’s footsteps, Team Shan Breast Cancer Awareness for Young Women (Team Shan) was born. Team Shan is a national charity dedicated to educating the public, health care professionals and young women about early detection, risk reduction and prevention of breast cancer.

Team Shan has reached over 100,000 young women across Canada with their breast cancer risk and breast health information. Young women have responded, taken action for their own health and shared information. They have appreciated not being forgotten in breast cancer messaging and thanked Team Shan for being on campus.

This fall, through community grant support from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - BC/Yukon Region, Team Shan will be hosting a multi-faceted breast cancer awareness campaign on and around the University of British Columbia (UBC) Vancouver. Working with campus contacts and partners, the campaign will run from the first of October to the middle of November. Watch for billboard posters, transit shelter and bus ads, CiTR 101.9 radio spots, Ubyssey print media ads, displays, print resources on campus, website and social media posts.

Shan’s face and her story has resonated with young women and made an impact on communicating Team Shan messages. Messages on breast cancer facts, risk factors, symptoms and self care will be shared at UBC. Messages that have made a difference for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, e.g., “In Shan’s memory, I would perform self-exams on a fairly regular basis. The only reason I did these exams was because I would remember Shan, and the billboards and your messages on FB from the group. The happy news is, because I did regular exams, I found it very early. Thank you for running programs in Shan’s memory. Thank you for reminding me that it is not just a disease of older women. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

I will be on hand at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure event in Vancouver to share my expertise and help create a future without breast cancer. Shan was a runner; a gifted athlete. I will be participating in Shan’s memory.

Who are you running for?

Lorna Larsen
Shanna's Mom
Team Shan President


  1. This is a message that needs to get out there. For our daughters, granddaughters and nieces and all their friends. Thanks to Lorna, Team Shan and CBCF for all you do day in and day out.

  2. Thank you Jan for your kind words and thank you. Together we are all making a difference :)


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