First cancer, then medical school
She was never given a choice or asked the question: “So what do you want first? The good news or the bad news?’“
But on a day in 2005, she got both. Wendie Den Brok was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer May 13, 2005 – the same day she found out she was accepted into medical school.
The news left her with a roller coaster of emotions, highs and lows, and led her down a path unlike anything she had expected.
She did now that triple negative breast cancer is aggressive and known as one of the deadliest forms of cancer.
Treatment including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation became her first priority. Den Brok postponed her studies, then after her treatment was over, she enrolled in medical school.
However, within one year, her cancer was back.
Now it was Stage IV. Treatment for the type of cancer and its stage is usually considered palliative. Her oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency suggested a combination of chemotherapy not typically used for breast cancer but one that was shown to be affective in certain studies.
“I had nothing to lose,” she is quoted in a Reader’s Digest story about her ordeal.
Cancer survivor and physician, Dr. Wendie Den Brok will be keynote speaker at the 8th annual Evening of Pink on Sept. 21.
Her story is fascinating and inspiring.
Event founder and organizer Monica Peacock said she’s “tickled pink” to have Den Brok as this year’s guest speaker.
“This young lady is triumphous. Her journey with breast cancer has been amazing – very much like (former guest speaker) Biff Naked’s but it’s also very different. Wendie is now in her fourth year. She’s training to become an oncologist.If not for medical research she would not even be here today.”
The Evening of Pink is a fundraiser for breast cancer and for medical equipment used in the diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer patients.
“I’m so happy that Wendie is going to be able to share it with so many people. (About 450 people are expected to attend the dinner, dance.)
“One of my favourite things about the Evening of Pink is seeing all the men who wear pink ties and pink shirts – it’s the only time you see that .”
The event includes a dinner, silent auction, and raffles. Darrell Hubbell Designing Goldsmiths will be working on a unique piece of jewellery to be won by one lucky ticket holder.
“For these events, we don’t just take something out of the showcase,” Hubbell said Friday.
“We design something that is unique and represents what the event is all about. It has to be special.”
Peacock herself has worked to make sure the venue is beautiful.
“I brought some pink material during a trip to Vietnam and one evening some volunteers got together and we cut the fabric; three women took the material home to sew into tablecloths.”
There will also be floral centre pieces made by Inn Flower Place.
Prizes include a trip for two, airfare and seven days accommodation anywhere in North America.
The eighth annual Evening of Pink, Memories and Celebrations is on Friday, Sept. 21 at the PG Civic Centre. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Dinner at 7 p.m. with dance to follow. Music by Sound Addiction. Tickets $85 available at Inn Flower Place, Coast Inn of the North.