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Ode to Jacques

Today I paid my respects and celebrated the life of Jacques, the son of a good friend. Jacques lost his life, far too early, to cancer. I never met Jacques in person, but felt as if I knew him because the years I worked with his father were filled with stories about his family. The stories were told with a great amount of pride, and were full of tidbits that were both humorous and inspiring.

Jacques has a very loving and close knit family, where honesty and respect are the cornerstones.  His parents valued leading by example, and his father's steadfast support and tender love from his mother were the reasons he touched so many lives in such a positive way himself.

The church had a peaceful and loving feeling about it today. The grief felt by the family was almost tangible, and was amplified by the loss of a family member who had just turned 56 years old.The priest who had married Jacques and his wife, thirty-five years earlier, celebrated his life today.

But there is comfort in this story. Jacques remained positive up until he died, and never gave up on his dreams. He accomplished more in his short life than many people would in a lifetime. And he LIVED. He found great joy in the peaceful and simple things in life, such as fishing. At work he encouraged his colleagues to work hard, and be the best that they could be. He was an inspiration as a father, and meant the world to his wife.

As many cancer patients and survivors do, Jacques got involved in a project that would give back to the community and hospital that helped him. Even in his last days in palliative care, he celebrated his birthday by donating a cheque to the Island Peak Expedition in Nepal. This expedition will take place from the 14th of April to the 5th of May 2012. Money raised in support of the expedition will go to the Sacre-Coeur Hospital Foundation, with the proceeds benefiting the Jean Jacques-Gauthier Cardio-Respiratory Rehabilitation Centre. About 12 climbers will climb to the summit of Island Peak, one of the highest mountains in Nepal. Their goal is to collect $100,000.

Efforts to help causes such as this one give purpose to cancer patients and survivors. It gives us a sense of purpose, and is our way of giving thanks. Many of these causes include some form of exercise.

And there's also another benefit............. The news this week of exercise being instrumental in preventing, or significantly lowering, the possibility of recurrence of cancer highlights the importance of physical fitness. Being active can add quality and years to your life. I have been running  for almost six years. I have run through operations, and through eight rounds of chemotherapy. I am convinced that it helped me, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Now I have an added reason to keep it up.

So tomorrow I will run in memory of Jacques and his family. And although days like today remind us of our own mortality, they also fill us with the appreciation of what our life has to give, and the loved ones who are in it. Rest in peace, Jacques. and may your spirit live on in all those who loved you.



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    Breast Cancer - Blog - Ode to Jacques
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