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The gift: Raising $400,000 and climbing

The cause: Cancer research

When Susan Hodkinson was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago, doctors told her that based on the size of the tumour she was likely in the very early stages.

But further testing on the pathology of the tumour, thanks to what was then breakthrough research, revealed it was extremely aggressive. She was rushed into surgery, followed by extensive chemotherapy.

Today Ms. Hodkinson is cancer-free and she credits the research for saving her life. "Because of this research, they knew that I had to have a treatment plan that was more aggressive than you would have thought," she said from her home in Oakville, Ont., where she is chief operating officer for accounting firm Crowe Soberman. "If I had been diagnosed a few years before, they wouldn't have done that. So the chances are we probably wouldn't be having this conversation right now."

Since then, Ms. Hodkinson and her family have become active fundraisers for cancer research, participating in more than 20 fundraising walks including the annual Rexall OneWalk to Conquer Cancer which benefits Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She has raised around $400,000 in total and plans to keep going.

Her two daughters, who were children at the time of her diagnosis, join her in many of the walks. "I've been able to impress upon them the importance of volunteerism and doing things to help others," she said.

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