Cheering for Oma!

My name is Kayla Slade and I am a coach and past athlete at Cheetah’s Cheerleading in Newmarket, Ontario.I have been attending Cheer for the Cure since I was an athlete in 2008 and C4TC means a TON to myself and countless athletes and staff at our gym because it helps spread the word and support those battling, not only breast cancer, but all forms of the disease.

I thought I would write in and share my story about some of the most inspirational people in my life. When I was younger my Oma (Grandmother in Dutch), was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. My sister and I were told that Oma was going to have to fight hard and might get sick but that didn’t scare me because I knew Oma had the strength and fight inside of her. Throughout all of her treatments my family rallied around her keeping the positivity and fight alive, cheering her on. After countless radiation treatments and some surgery to remove tumours my Oma was told she had achieved remission status. Five years later, we were blessed with th enews that she had beaten the cancer.

In the Fall of 2013 my Opa (grandfather in Dutch) was diagnosed with a severe stage of prostate cancer and once again my family was hit with the shock that every person affected by cancer understands. We were told that there were treatments available, however, the efficacy of those treatments would be unknown. My Oma stood by his side showing her support and love, it being her turn to cheer him on as he endured radiation and hormone therapy. A few weeks into his treatments we noticed that my Oma was losing her energy and seemed sad and removed from everyone. We didn’t really understand why this was happening because at that point we had heard nothing but positivity from the doctors about my Opa’s reactions to the treatments.

One day, shortly after my Oma began to remove herself from conversations and lost her positive attitude we noticed that she was beginning to act less and less like herself. It was decided one particularly bad day when she was unable to speak to anyone that we would take er to the doctor to be assessed. It was on that day that our earth was shattered once again and we were told that my Oma had a rapidly aggressive form of brain cancer that was causing the extreme changes. All at once, both of my heroes were fighting for their lives and I was lost. My Oma, who was brought to Toronto Western Hospital for specialized treatments was fighting for her life. Soon enough we discovered that the cancer was not only located in her brain but had metastasized to her lungs. It was at this point that the most amazing and life changing thing happened. My Opa, fighting against the disease himself, reminded us that it isn’t a time to be depressed or sad, it’s a time for positivity and to cheer Oma on as she faced the fight of her life for the second time.

On December 24, 2014 my Oma passed away as a result of the cancer. However, the point of this story is not meant to be sad. The point of this story is that I am lucky enough to still have one of my heroes by my side. I still have someone to cheer on, someone who was just told by his Oncologist that he doesn’t need to see him again for a year! I am sad and I do miss my Oma because she was my best friend but I am happy and proud and blessed to have someone who is still courageously battling, combating and overcoming this disease.


Coach Kayla – Cheetahs Cheerleading

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