Anita Armstrong brought a few friends and family members for the 2019 Inspire Health Rain Walk. (Inspire Health Photo)

Rain Walk returns Saturday to raise funds for cancer support

Rain Walk group Team Teal indebted to Inspire Health

Inspire Health is one of those places you don’t hear about until you or someone close to you needs it.

That’s the sentiment Anita Armstrong experienced when a friend of a friend benefitted from the services of the Oak Bay-based clinic. Inspire Health supports cancer patients and their caretakers with myriad programs.

In November of 2018 Armstrong recognized something was wrong when she went to the doctor and took up their suggestion she visit the emergency room. She got a CT scan that revealed a mass on her right ovary.

By the time she had it surgically removed a month later it was 15 pounds.

Once it was diagnosed as cancer, she began using the Inspire Health services.

“It’s one of those places, right there on Oak Bay Avenue, but you don’t realize it until you or someone you know gets cancer and uses their services,” said Armstrong, now 43.

On Saturday, Armstrong and a group of family and friends will do the fourth annual Inspire Health Rain Walk starting at Glenlyon Norfolk School. The five-kilometre walk around Fairfield and Oak Bay is a fundraiser, and friendraiser, for Inspire Health.

Map My Run Route/Screenshot

Armstrong, who has made it a year without a cancer diagnosis, didn’t think she’d finish the five-kilometre walk last year as she did the walk after one of the brutal chemotherapy sessions.

READ MORE: Saturday’s Rain Walk raises funds for cancer support

“Before I had surgery I looked like I was pregnant with twins,” said Armstrong, who was nothing of the sort. “When we got the CT scan diagnosis it was a 50-50 chance that it was either a benign mass or cancerous.”

Until a biopsy was done, the medical team wouldn’t know if it was stage 1 or 4.

“It took another month throughout Christmas time and somehow, it was the most aggressive kind, a massive tumour that was miraculously still in stage 1,” Armstrong said.

It’s been a year since Armstrong last had chemotherapy. During that time she relied heavily on Inspire Health’s services, everything from the counselling services to the nutrition and cooking classes, the Monday meditation classes, and the yoga classes.

“When you’re doing chemo and radiation it’s awful, you feel like you’re being poisoned from the inside,” Armstrong said. “I made a motto, never miss a Monday. It is a really great place to go. Everyone understood what you’re going through, everyone there is calm and it’s a place to just be.”

Inspire Health also supports caretakers and did so for Armstrong’s husband.

The yoga classes helped Armstrong, a gym regular, get back to her daily workouts.

Her group Team Teal – their motto is “Teal we find a cure” – could be 30 strong, which is a good chunk of the 200-plus participants.

Inspire Health clinical director Rachel Mark helped start the Rain Walk in Victoria four years ago and has seen it grow from 75 to 205 walkers last year.

READ ALSO: Cancer driveline society delivers 1000th patient to treatment

“There’s no registration fee this year,” Mark said. “On top of raising money, it’s about building awareness.”

Awareness for services such as the cooking class, which was key when chemotherapy drastically altered her palette and her appetite, Armstrong said.

“Just come and walk, show your support, and know this organization is there for your friends, family, colleagues when they need it,” Armstrong said. “It’s amazing how quickly it can happen that you’ll know someone using Inspire Health.”

The Rain Walk starts at the Pemberton GNS campus and heads along Richardson down to Fairfield, Richmond and Beach Drive before returning back to the school.

Register for the walk at inspirehealth.ca.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paramedics called to Oak Bay golf course as man crashes bike into sand trap

Oak Bay police respond to social distance concerns

Friends, family suprise Current Swell singer and new wife with socially distant wedding

‘We just thought we were going over there to have a glass of champagne and do some paperwork’

‘How not to handle social isolation concerns’: Victoria police respond to confrontation with firearm

Police seize replica firearms after one resident confronts another over social distancing

Outreach initiative connects Sooke seniors to support amid COVID-19

Volunteers encouraged to sign up as need increases

Victoria company compares drone footage of city streets between August and now

Fewer cars, people seen on streets and at landmarks

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Vancouver Island teen singer advances to American Idol top 20

Lauren Spencer-Smith performs Respect at outdoor concert in Hawaii

Most Read