The Boobyball Story – what is now one of Canada’s top fundraisers started as a promise to one friend.

Tickets to Boobyball Flash went on sale this past Tuesday and have nearly sold out. Last year the Boobyball committee, along with MTV Canada, created a sexy teaser (literally) and it was such a viral hit that it landed on Jay Leno, CNN and the effing VIEW! Without a doubt, Boobyball is the most well attended fundraiser for young women in Toronto – but how did this success story, that has raised nearly a million dollars, start?

Back in 2002, twenty-three year old Sarah O’Regan was training for a triathlon and began experiencing difficulty with her breathing, “I thought I had asthma but then after a battery of tests, it turned out to be cancer.”

I asked her how she initially reacted to the diagnosis, “Shock. The thing about breast cancer is that it’s something you only think older women struggle with. At that age,I didn’t even know what it was. “ However, it sank in quickly when Sarah found herself hooked up to chemotherapy and in to surgery within a matter of days.

While in Vancouver, working on getting better, her best friend Amanda Blakely, (Co-founder of The Society) would frequently visit to cheer Sarah up and lend support, “Mandy [Amanda]and I have been best friends since kindergarten. We lived together in university – we were like sisters growing up.”

During one visit, Amanda relayed to Sarah that she wanted to throw a fundraiser to raise Sarah’s hopes, “I knew she was putting on a party for me in Toronto but I didn’t really realise what was going on.”

Perhaps this is when Amanda found her calling as an event organizer extraordinaire because Sarah expected a small gathering and walked into a full-on fundraiser packed with six hundred friends and family.  Having done chemo that morning and taken a plane from Vancouver to Toronto, Sarah wasn’t sure she’d have the energy for what was in store, “I was so sick and so timid. I had a hat and no hair. I mean, I was twenty-three and really kind of dreading it…but when I got there, it was the best night. I didn’t wear my hat, I felt so comfortable. It was a really good breakthrough moment – when you realize that all these people are there to help you. “

Sarah continues to attend the Boobyball year after year, “They are all special – they remind me of how far I’ve come since that first event. It’s really nice every year to benchmark against something and see how far you’ve come in life. So much work goes into the event, I always have such appreciation for all the committees.”

Rethink Breast Cancer is a organization, as it’s modus operandi is entirely directed at young women – whether creating awareness or directly supporting cancer patients and survivors. Boobyball is instrumental in helping to educate young women, teaching them that they aren’t invincible and that regular breast checks are important, regardless of age.

When asked how cancer changed her life Sarah shares, “It gives you a different perspective and an appreciation for things. I know what it’s like to be so sick. Going through cancer you have a new appreciation and want to live life to the fullest. “

What does living life to the fullest mean to Sarah? “It’s about embracing every great opportunity and just going with it. I’ve had three kids in the past three and a half years, and I got married at twenty-five.” Her zest for life and determination are certainly inspiring – just like the Boobyball story.

Now, go to http://boobyball.com/, ’cause this year’s Boobyball, themed FLASH, is on October 16 and tickets are selling faster than ever!

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