At age 34, shortly after the birth of her third child Tanner, Teresa Bell was diagnosed with what is regarded by oncologists as a rare and dangerous cancer, known as liposarcoma. Her son Tanner is now 13 years old and his mother has battled cancer for as long as he has been alive.
With an unstoppable spirit and will to live, she has faced over TEN separate reoccurrences with this cancer. She has endured aggressive and intrusive cancer treatments in various forms – chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, clinical trials and more scans, needles and tests than you could ever imagine.
Thirteen years is an exceptionally long time to be a cancer warrior, especially when your cancer is rare, reoccurs, responds to few treatment options and to date, cannot be cured.
Yet, what truly astounds me is not how much Teresa has been through, but rather how positive, how tenacious and how truly inspiring she has remained throughout this journey with cancer – not only to other cancer patients, but to everyday healthy folks as well. (Teresa in green with husband Mike)
Teresa is the embodiment of courage and grace. She is a wife, a mother of three, a daughter and a new grandma now. She is also a Rotarian – and dedicated to international service, Teresa has made a number of trips to Haiti to help families in need.
She is an award winning business owner, a farmer, and a dedicated Canadian Cancer Society volunteer. Teresa garnered national attention when she became a national spokesperson for the Society and was featured on Global, CBC and CTV national news as well as completing interviews with the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, to discuss living with sarcoma cancer.
She is the founder of the Sarcoma Step N Fetch – a sarcoma awareness walk and fundraiser for the Society – celebrating the lives of those with sarcoma cancer. Teresa is also the founder of the Fight Back Crew – a supportive community for young adults living with cancer. Her own personal story has been shared internationally through the American Liddy Shriver Sarcoma foundation and on her blog – Fierce Grace, living life with sarcoma cancer.
The Medal of Courage is the highest honour awarded by The Canadian Cancer Society and it is a national award presented to a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer who has demonstrated exceptional courage in their personal battle with cancer or as a caregiver and in doing so, the individual serves as an inspiration and role model to others. Please join me in congratulating Teresa Bell as together this afternoon we award her the 2016 National Medal of Courage award.
This year – there were two people awarded this honour – Teresa Bell of Hastings-Prince Edward County and John Hunt from Oxford County in Ontario.
Sean Kelly and Orlena Cain speak with Teresa Bell on Mix97 this morning LISTEN HERE