Burnaby mother keeps daughter’s legacy alive
After getting diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago, Anita Cochrane took up the Weekend to End Women’s Cancer cause with a passion by starting Team LiveStrong to walk the annual 60-kilometre route through Vancouver. Although she kicked her original cancer for a couple of years, it returned with a vengeance in her bones.
Despite the diagnosis she fought on and two years ago, Cochrane encouraged her mother to join the team, but Mona Bassett balked.
“I don’t need to do this walk, I’ll just give you the money,” the Burnaby resident said to her daughter.
“Oh mom,” came the reply, “you’ll have fun.”
“She was right. There were a few tears, but more laughter than tears,” said Bassett, 65, this week.
Bassett did the walk last year, but without Cochrane, who was too sick to participate and died on Oct. 5 at the age of 39. So when her feet hit the pavement for the first 30 kilometres on Saturday, it will be the first time without her daughter around.
“There will be tears but I know she wants me to do this. This was her passion and she’ll want me to be walking. All her other girls will want to do it, too,” said Bassett, who trains for the walk by hoofing it on the golf course and hiking the trails on Burnaby Mountain near her home.
Participants have to raise $2,000 to do the walk. There will be almost 30 people on Team LiveStrong, many of whom have had cancer or loved ones suffering from it, this weekend. As of earlier this week, the team had $62,515 committed to the cause. Under Cochrane’s leadership they raised $270,000 in six years.
They wear yellow instead of pink to honour American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who donned the yellow winner’s jersey for being the Tour de France champion seven times and is a cancer survivor.
Cochrane and her husband Mike were so into cycling they spent their honeymoon riding across Canada.
“Not my idea of a honeymoon,” said Bassett, with a laugh.
However, that trip is also when Cochrane learned she had breast cancer, something that shocked her because she was only 30.
“Right away she was very keen on making awareness of how it can affect young people,” said Bassett.
When the disease returned Cochrane signed up for every clinical trial she could. They would work for a while but didn’t cure her.
“It was a very aggressive cancer,” said Bassett. “They definitely gave her a longer time and a better quality of life. Originally they thought she would last two years and she had eight.”
To support Team LiveStrong, click here.