Boobyball was launched in 2002 by a group of dedicated young women in support of their friend Sarah O’Regan who, at just 23 years old, was diagnosed with aggressive, advanced breast cancer. Boobyball is now one of the most coveted and high profile fundraising events for young philanthropists in Toronto & Calgary. We are excited to announce that Boobyball is expanding and will be taking place in Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg in 2014!
Over the past 12 years Boobyball has raised over 3 million dollars for Rethink Breast Cancer. This year, Rethink, along with our incredible committees, aims to raise over $375,000 to support Rethink’s unique mission.
Running is a passion for Sarah O’Regan and when she headed to Vancouver after graduating from Western, Sarah caught the triathlon bug. She was feeling strong and totally loving her beautiful west coast runs. Suddenly, she began to notice frequent pain in her chest and was finding it difficult to breathe. Thinking the breathing problem was asthma, Sarah went to her doctor to get to the bottom of it. After a battery of tests, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She was only 23 years old.
The diagnosis was a total shock. At her young age, she didn’t know much about it and assumed it was something that older women struggled with. Because her cancer was advanced, Sarah had little time to even let the news sink in. She was rushed into surgery and chemo therapy within days of her diagnosis.
While in Vancouver, dealing with getting through aggressive treatment, her best friend Amanda Blakely, would frequently visit from T.O. to cheer Sarah up and lend support. She and Amanda had been best friends since kindergarten. They lived together in university and we were like sisters growing up.
During one visit, Amanda told Sarah she wanted to throw a fundraiser to raise Sarah’s hopes. While Sarah knew Amanda was planning a party for her in Toronto, she wasn’t paying too much attention to what Amanda was actually pulling together. Sarah expected a small gathering and walked into a full-on fundraiser packed with six hundred friends and family – Boobyball was born!
Having done chemo that morning and taken a plane from Vancouver to Toronto, Sarah wasn’t sure she’d have the energy for a party. She was really nauseous and just felt shy and timid. She wore a hat and had no hair and was actually kind of dreading it. However, when she got there, it was the best night. She felt so comfortable she took off her hat. It was a really good breakthrough moment – she realized that everyone in the room wanted to help her.
Sarah would find herself needing more help. Despite treatment, the breast cancer reoccurred about a year later and had spread. Her prognosis was grim. She found herself going through another even more intense battle with cancer. Against all odds, Sarah was eventually declared cancer free. It was a miracle.
Sarah continues to attend the Boobyball year after year. It’s an annual benchmark, reminding her of how far she’s come since that first event. Sarah’s life was forever changed by her cancer experience. At such a young age, she developed the insight and wisdom of a woman far beyond her years as well as an appreciation for all things in her life, big and small. She cherishes every day and is determined to live life to the fullest.
For Sarah, living life to the fullest post-breast cancer has included marrying her husband Jake at age 25 and having three beautiful children before she was even thirty.