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A man wearing a Superman T-shirt is smiling
Breast cancer survivor Steve Ewoniak is a spokesperson for this year’s virtual BRIGHT Run on Sept. 12. The event has raised over $4 million since its inception, in support of breast cancer research at HHS’ Juravinski Cancer Centre and McMaster University.
August 27, 2020

Two firsts for this year’s BRIGHT Run

When family members from out of town learned that Steve Ewoniak had cancer, they sent him a Superman T-shirt complete with red cape and best wishes for a speed-of-light recovery.

“They wanted me to stay strong,” said the Grimsby man, who was diagnosed with breast cancer just over two years ago, at age 40. The diagnosis came as a complete shock since breast cancer in men is rare and Ewoniak had no family history.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, less than one per cent of all breast cancers occur in men.

Discovering cancer

“I wasn’t sure what it was, but I didn’t think it was cancer.”

Ewoniak saw his family doctor after finding a lump.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, but I didn’t think it was cancer.”

He was immediately sent for an ultrasound, followed by a mammogram, biopsy and second ultrasound at the CIBC Breast Assessment Centre, located at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.

Tests confirmed he had breast cancer and treatment included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation at the cancer centre.

“I’m just so grateful that it was found early,” said Ewoniak, who wore his Superman T-shirt and cape to all his treatments as a way to keep the mood light, especially for his two young children.

Steve Ewoniak wore his Superman shirt to cancer treatments. He’s pictured here with his wife Kerri and their children, Allison, 7, and Aiden, 5.

“My wife Kerri and I decided that we weren’t going to let a cancer diagnosis impact our family in a negative way,” said Ewoniak. “Having children helped me take on that Superman role. I needed to stay strong for my kids, by helping them understand what was happening in an age-appropriate, gentle way while also providing comfort to them and keeping life fun.”

2020 BRIGHT Run spokesperson

“It’s a year of firsts for us.”

On Sept. 12, Ewoniak will trade his Superman T-shirt for a BRIGHT Run one, with the word `virtual’ added to the logo.

This is the 13th year for BRIGHT Run – a one or five kilometre walk or run traditionally held at the Dundas Valley Conservation Area.

The event has raised over $4 million since its inception, in support of breast cancer research at HHS’ Juravinski Cancer Centre and McMaster University. This year’s event is being held virtually, through Facebook Live, due to the pandemic.

Ewoniak is this year’s survivor spokesperson.

“It’s a year of firsts for us,” said BRIGHT Run chair Nancy McMillan. “This is our first time holding a virtual event, and the first time in our history that a male has been the survivor spokesperson.”

Ewoniak will tell his story as part of the Facebook Live event.

“I’m very excited to be doing this,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful to the JCC for the amazing care that I received. I feel that I’ve had a top-grade experience with every medical professional that I’ve met during my cancer journey.”

Ewoniak is also participating in a one-kilometre socially distanced walk with a team from Scotia Wealth Management, where he works as a senior associate. His team will post their walk on Facebook and tag BRIGHT Run as part of the event’s celebrations.

Participants in this year’s virtual event are welcome to walk, run, ride their bikes or participate in any activity in their neighbourhoods, and post to Facebook. For more information on the virtual BRIGHT Run, and to register, please visit www.brightrun.ca