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Yvonne Bedford has a calm, relaxed smile. Her pace, though? Quick as lightning.
Having worked for the Laboratory Medicine Program (LMP) at University Health Network (UHN) for 15 years, Yvonne is used to working in a fast-paced environment. With a passion for running and an active lifestyle, Yvonne feels completely at home at the largest diagnostic laboratory in Canada, which provides clinical service and research leadership to all UHN sites including Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
In 2014, Yvonne's professional connection to the Princess Margaret became personal after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It was difficult but I managed to find comfort,” says Yvonne, who credits her family, friends and department for her recovery – especially Mary Fountas, a friend and colleague at LMP, who made time to support her through all of her treatments.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (The PMCF) is hosting its first ever Twitter Party on June 2, 2015 from 8-9 p.m. in support of the Shoppers Drug Mart OneWalk to Conquer Cancer. All are welcome to join the online conversation and share their stories using #onewalkshoeselfie.
Though Yvonne has an exceptional network—like her sister, who brought her meals following her cancer surgery—she is now learning about the communities available through online social media networks such as OneWalk.
Seeing the dollars at work
Having participated in two walk-based fundraising events in support of The PMCF, Yvonne likes to set her own pace.
"She's a bit of a rebel and actually runs the entire walk every year," laughs James Buttivant, Yvonne's colleague and Senior Communications Specialist for LMP.
In September 2015, OneWalk to Conquer Cancer will be her third walking event in support of the Princess Margaret.
"Now that I'm a patient, I see how the money is being spent," says Yvonne. "On the research side of it, it's really working. I see where the money is being spent and the equipment it produces."
"There is no way that we could have this cutting-edge equipment without fundraising dollars," she adds. "Our researchers are getting the answers."
Although Yvonne doesn't have a Twitter account of her own, she shared her #onewalkshoeselfie through @UHN_Labs to raise awareness for a cause close to her heart.
Social media savvy UHN employees
While Yvonne chose to post her #onewalkshoeselfie through her department, other employees have opted to raise awareness via their personal social media accounts.
"I don't tweet much myself but read my [social media] feeds constantly," says Talia Goldhar, Speech-Language Pathologist and Clinical Research Coordinator at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. "When I heard about #onewalkshoeselfie and how quick and eye-catching it is, it was impossible not to tweet in support."
"Everyone I know has been affected by cancer in one way or another," she adds. "This event shines because it doesn't just target one specific type of cancer but all cancers."
Monica Dela Cruz, Clinical Research Study Assistant at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, joined Twitter in 2009. Like Talia, Monica reads her Twitter feed more often than she posts but was compelled by the Princess Margaret's new social media initiative.
"I hope that my #onewalkshoeselfie helps the Princess Margaret raise awareness for OneWalk and increase their donations. Some people think that a few dollars won't make a difference but I can tell you from working here that every single amount matters," says Monica. "It all adds up."
#ONEWALKSHOESELFIE Twitter Party
What is a Twitter Party?
A Twitter Party is an online virtual conversation around a pre-determined topic using the Twitter platform.
How does it work?
On Tuesday June 2, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST: