LANGLEY – Cancer keeps picking a fight with Margie Ostroff.
And the 70-year-old mom and grandma’s response has been, time and time again: bring it on.
Margie and her husband Harvey, from the Ocean Park neighbourhood in Surrey, took part in the Langley City Terry Fox Run on Sunday, Sept. 14.
She soldiers on, looking very healthy considering she’s battled cancer five times in her life.
It started with breast cancer when she was 48. Three years later, she developed liver metastasis from breast cancer. The very next year, she dealt with ovarian cancer. Three years after that, she had a relapse of ovarian cancer. Finally, four years ago, at 66, she battled breast cancer again.
“All of this is due to the BRCA1 gene that I have,” Margie said at Douglas Park, just seconds before the run/walk/roll for cancer research got underway.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, mutations in the genes BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2) increase a woman’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
BRCA mutations account for about five per cent of all breast cancers and four-to-11 per cent of all ovarian cancers.
Despite this, a fighting spirit has helped Margie conquer her cancer battles.
“I always have a positive outlook, and I always just think that I am going to make it even when other people tell me I’m not going to make it,” she said. “The chemo(therapy) always seems to be successful and doesn’t make me feel sick.”
All along the way, Harvey has been Margie’s
support system, as well as the couple’s grown children Alicia, 42, and Joshua, 39, along with three grandchildren.
“Indomitable is the word,” Harvey said, describing his wife’s fortitude.
“People call her ‘Miracle Margie’ and it’s amazing. She’s helped an awful lot of people.”
That’s why at the Langley fundraiser, she wore the Canadian Cancer Society National Medal of Courage, awarded in 1999 -so she can serve as an example to others in similar situations.
“We live our life and we live well,” Harvey said.
“I think about it almost every day,” Margie added, about her bouts with cancer. “I’m grateful that I’m a grandparent – I never thought that I would end up being be that. I’ve been going through this now for 22 years. I’ve always been positive. I’ve just never let the other thought get into my mind very much. Sometimes that works, sometimes that doesn’t work, and in my case, it works.”
Harvey, a theatre instructor who retired early so he and Margie “can live our lives to the very best,” wrote a song, inspired by the namesake of the 34th annual fundraiser. It’s called “Ballad of Terry Fox.”