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Community rallies for reporter fighting breast cancer

Trivia question. How many Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019?

It was a sold-out event Saturday as the community came out for a spaghetti meal and trivia night in support of local CTV reporter Brittany Bortolon who is battling breast cancer and is off work.

Over $5,000 was raised as a packed Les Compagnons rang out with cheers and jeers as answers to the trivia questions were unveiled.

"Coming back for this is amazing," Bortolon told BayToday. "I can't get over the number of people who have gathered in this room. I think it goes to show that cancer is something that affects a lot of people. The most surprising thing is having people feeling comfortable enough to tell me about a journey that they've gone through or someone they know has gone through. You don't realize how many people until they come to you and say 'I had this brush with cancer.' A lot of them have been young people and to me, that's really surprising because throughout this whole journey I was told you're too young, when the reality is, you're not too young."

Bortolon is just 26.

Organizer Clarke Heipel, a reporter with Cogeco's Your TV says he felt it is important to use the position he's in to shine a spotlight on the issue.

"I knew I could get the word out. I knew I could get free advertising, get my colleagues in the media behind it, and the support from the community has been amazing. I was in a position where I could do good."

Heipel says the support has been overwhelming.

"Every single day I made phone calls (looking for support) and I didn't get one no."

It was all fun and games on Saturday but the statistics are sobering.

In 2019 an estimated 26,900 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,000 will die of it. Breast cancer accounts for approximately 25 per cent of new cases of cancer and 13 per cent of all cancer deaths in Canadian women. One in eight women are expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime and one in 33 will die of it according to government figures.

With files from Chris Dawson.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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