“Eat the cake, buy the shoes, take the trip and count your blessings.” These are the things cancer has taught Terry Carlisle-Fink.

Carlisle-Fink was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2018. After six months of chemotherapy, she had a double mastectomy with no reconstruction.

She lost all the hair on her body, and her fingernails and toenails fell off twice during her treatments. She says it all taught her a very important lesson.

“Cancer has taught me to live each day to its fullest; to not procrastinate about things,” she says.

“It has also taught me how important my family, friends, coworkers and neighbours are. The support I received was outstanding and I continue to try and pay that kindness and support forward.”

She now supports other cancer survivors by giving them advice and resources throughout their journey because she knows what it is like to feel scared and alone after receiving your diagnosis.

“I am a cancer survivor and want to give back to my community,” she says.

“If I can help even one cancer patient gain confidence in fighting the disease and release some anxiety, I feel I have won again.”

Tracey Sweetapple, assistant principal at WH Croxford High School, nominated Carlisle-Fink for the award, saying the school secretary is known throughout Airdrie as kind, thoughtful, resilient and resourceful.

“She has great compassion for others and even in her darkest hour, thought about how she could support others surviving cancer,” Sweetapple adds.