In support of the CIBC Breast Centre

“You cannot know what a blessing it is to be treated with the compassion and respect that they always show to women.” – Barbara Gardner-Bray

In support of the CIBC Breast Centre 2

I lost my sister Judy in 1999 to breast cancer. She was 51. I was 50. It was the deepest grief I have ever experienced. I decided then and there that I needed to start treating breast cancer as the threat that it is. I went to what is now the CIBC Breast Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital to begin annual screening.

Within a year, they saw something they didn’t like. They did an ultrasound and a mammogram. I was so frightened. I was even more frightened when I went to see Dr. Leo Mahoney, founder of the CIBC Breast Centre, to get the results. He was there in his office, waiting with a nurse.

He sat me down, took one of my hands in both of his, looked at me kindly, and said, “You don’t have breast cancer.”

I burst into tears. The good kind.

If you haven’t been through it, you cannot know what a terror breast cancer can be.

And if you haven’t been lucky enough to experience it, you cannot know what a blessing it is to be treated with the kindness, compassion and respect that are always shown to women at the CIBC Breast Centre.

I have been going there now for 24 years, ever since Judy succumbed to her illness. There has been one other scare, but I’m OK: they got me through that one, too.

There are a lot of women who depend on the CIBC Breast Centre. Their stories don’t always end as well as mine has, but the treatment they receive is always as good. It is a place where everything you need is close at hand. You don’t have to worry about going to your doctor, having them send you somewhere else for a test, and then somewhere else to see a specialist. Everything is there at the centre, and the people who look after you are just so nice.

And that’s why I will be supporting the CIBC Breast Centre, so they can continue to do the great work they do. I hope others will as well.

A top priority for the CIBC Breast Centre is a new mammography machine. If you’d like to join Barbara and make a donation towards its acquisition, contact Ashley Downey at

Donate to St. Michael's Foundation.

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