The Handsome Little Man in the photo below will be guest of honour at the Ovarian Cancer Canada Mini Walk of Hope in Burlington/Oakville, Ontario on September 11. “I can’t wait to introduce him to everyone,” says Mom Cynthia Bradburn, 36, an ovarian cancer survivor and the Mini Walk chair.
Evan Alexander David Bradburn – or “Evan sent from Heaven,” as his parents call him – is a dream-come-true for Cynthia and her husband Jay. The biological son of the couple was born on April 7, 2011 using a surrogate.
In May 2009, Cynthia was diagnosed with stage IIc ovarian cancer and stage Ib uterine cancer. She had surgery to remove a 20 cm tumour and her reproductive organs, and then underwent six rounds of chemotherapy.
Before her diagnosis, the newlyweds had been trying to start a family but Cynthia was experiencing persistent symptoms including bloating, gas, frequent urination, menstrual pain and bleeding. Prior to Cynthia’s surgery, the Bradburns completed a cycle of in vitro fertilization and a friend offered to carry the couple’s child – “the best gift anyone could ever give us.
“I couldn’t carry my own child and it was so important to Jay and me to have a family. My fertility had been instantly taken away from me. But Evan really saved my life.”
While Cynthia was undergoing treatment, she decided that she needed to do something to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, particularly among younger women. “Until we have a screening tool for early detection, women need to be aware of the disease and know the signs and symptoms.”
She registered a team for the 2009 Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope in Toronto, and in 2010 she launched the Mini Walk in Burlington/Oakville. “We had the largest MiniWalk in Canada with over 300 participants and we raised more than $63,000.”
Cynthia wants young women diagnosed with ovarian cancer to know that “there are options that can help you to have your family.” She says she’s learned that “my life has no guarantees, so I’m living each day to the fullest without regrets. Anything that’s within my control, I’m going to take it and run with it.”
That’s exactly what Cynthia and Jay did with their desire to be parents. And it’s everything they ever dreamed of and more.
“Jay is a proud father. He has wanted kids for a long time. And being a Mom is fantastic,” says Cynthia. “I just love waking up every morning to Evan’s sparkling eyes and contagious smile. It makes any kind of day better.”
Photo: Nathan, Claudia Connor, Cynthia and Evan at the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope last September