Tag Archive | Dr. John Mackey

DATELINE: Sept 3 – Lamont Ag Society

Bless their hearts. We sure do appreciate Lamont Ag. We couldn’t go into Edmonton because WELCA is in the middle of their construction. We didn’t want to go to St Albert because too many riders didn’t like all that city driving. Lamont Ag rode to our rescue.

Yes, it was muddy, but it didn’t rain on Saturday while the riders were off for their second day of riding the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Grazing and Recreational Area. This time they rode out of Waskahegan Staging Area. The riders included my stepson who was given the opportunity to ride “Hashbrown”, a gaited Rocky Mountain Horse owned by Pinkster Julia Vanderwolf-MacPhail. (I was jealous yet again.) Stepson Kevin hasn’t been a “horse person” thus far in his life, but I’m working hard on turning him into one. *grin* From all accounts, the day’s ride was successful and thoroughly enjoyed. Kevin was amazed at how much smoother a gaited horse is as compared to a “trotter”. (Is it working, Kevin? Are we ready to buy you a Rocky?)

While the riders were off in the Blackfoot, Julia, Amanda and Cookie took to the ovens. Longrider Sue’s husband (Jim), my husband (David) and I got to setting things up in the big tent that Lamont Ag keeps up all summer long. It’s huge, and we had to move panels from the east end of it to the west end where the wind was whipping in. Once that was done, my hubby put together and set up a patio heater and another small propane heater. Suddenly the place was cozy so we started decorating. Pink glow sticks were hung from the walls and pink plastic tablecloths covered the picnic tables. Two LED-lit little trees sat in the corners and lit the room.

When the riders got back (hungry), Carole made nachos to tide them over ’til dinner.

Our Yonderosa Dinner was compliments of Lori from Sobey’s on Wye in Sherwood Park. The cooking was compliments of Cookie, Julia and Amanda. We had chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and spinach and topped with a mushroom sauce, creamy potatoes, broccoli, Caesar salad and dutch oven-made cheddar cheese buns by Julia. For dessert there was a slab cake from Sobey’s that had the Wild Pink Yonder logo on it and the words, “Happy trails to you”. And to top it off, Julia did this awesome thing with sour cherries on the bottom and double chocolate cake on top. It was fantastic! The ladies outdid themselves.

Our speaker for the night was none other than the internationally recognized breast cancer guru, Dr John Mackey. Not only is this man brilliant, but he’s personable, charming and funny, to boot. And he spoke to us in this intimate little setting so anyone who wanted to could ask a question or throw in a comment. He told us how CRINA (Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta) works … and why it works so well. He told us of the many things they’re doing and the success they are having matching up experts from fields that don’t normally work on cancer with their researchers who do. Because of these innovations (and many others) the end is near for breast cancer. Both effective treatment and a vaccine will happen in my lifetime. I am sure of that.

If you’re going to have a farewell Yonderosa Dinner, this was the way to do it. I can’t give enough kudos to Carole DeSchover, Julia Vanderwolf-MacPhail, Amanda MacPhail and Dr John Mackey. The four of them made the evening a resounding success. I could not have asked for more.

Next stop …no regrets.



Today 43 Albertans will hear the words, “You have cancer”. Let’s change that.

That is a slogan used by Alberta Cancer Foundation, and at Wild Pink Yonder we couldn’t agree more.  Let’s change that.

I remember the day I heard the words, “You have cancer”.  My heart froze.  I couldn’t think of anything other than the fact that I’d not had a mammogram for four years (because of severe mobility issues) and I was sure that, essentially, I’d killed myself.  One never forgets a moment like that.  One never wants to live it again.

And so, here we are … five years of riding and $633,000 later.  What have we got?  Well, we’ve got Dr John Mackey and his team — and that’s huge.  They worked on a clinical trial that proved the drug Herceptin improved survival rates after breast cancer surgery.  Then Dr Mackey and his team were able to prove that the probability of breast cancer reoccurrence decreased by 30% because of that research, which spurred Health Canada to approve the drug in this country.  Their findings changed standard practice in Alberta and beyond.  More than 130 women treated in Alberta are now alive because of Dr Mackey’s clinical trial research.

We helped with that — you and me — simply by riding our horses through pinkified towns — or by being one of those pinkified towns.

130 Alberta women alive and well because of Herceptin research.  Maybe you know one of them.  But it isn’t about just Herceptin.  There’s a lot more research out there either being done right now, or waiting for the funding necessary to get started.  That’s where we come in.

How many more miles will it take until Dr Mackey can tell us, “We’ve changed that”?

How far are you willing to go?

I was invited to speak to 200 cancer researchers at the Cross Cancer Institute today …

What an amazing opportunity to thank the men and women who work so hard to unlock the answers to cancer.  And what an amazing bunch of people they are.  Very warm.  Very personable.  Very supportive.

My speech went off pretty well, I think.  They wanted to know how we came to be doing this.  Our inspiration — them.  The adversity we’ve faced — breaking my back, hip and leg just before year one.  The heartache — losing my stepdaughter (Rusty’s sister) to metastasized breast cancer on day six of year two.  And they wanted to know of our victories — the biggest one being raising more than a quarter million dollars to be used as they see fit for breast cancer research.

I ended my speech by telling them that I have daughters-in-law now — young women who I don’t want to ever have to look down the barrel of the breast cancer gun —  so I was there to make a deal with them.  If they’ll keep on researching, I’ll keep on driving my team around the province every summer!

And then our old friend — well, young friend — Dr. John Mackey got up to speak and blew my socks off.  They will be using $100,000 of this year’s research money to fund further study into one of the suspected causes of breast cancer.  Research to date has them fairly sure that some breast cancers are caused by a virus!  A virus!  Can you believe it?  If this new research confirms their suspicion, it will just be a matter of time before they have a vaccine.  (Well, he didn’t say anything about a vaccine, but that’s what I think.)

Wouldn’t it be cool to think that that’s what they do with our $177,000?