Ile Bizard resident Debbie Sorger tragically lost her battle with cancer at the tender age of 38 this summer, but her spirit lives on in friends and relatives determined to make sure all that she fought for was not in vain.
Sorger, who first started battling cancer when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2005, was an annual participant in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, a two-day, 60-km walk across Montreal, and despite battling bilateral breast cancer in 2008, was determined to make the trek year in, year out until she passed away in July after her third battle with the disease, which returned and had spread to her lungs and
Sorger’s journey may have ended, but family and friends have picked up where she left off and will walk in the event in her honour this weekend.
“She was even registered to do (the walk) again this year; it would have been her seventh year doing it,” said her mother, Aggie Faigan-Sorger. “It was very important for her to complete the walk every year because it was symbolic to her. It signified a goal in her mind. No matter what, she wasn’t going to let cancer get in her way – and she never did.”
Sorger, who died July 5, left behind her two young daughters -- nine-year-old Cassandra and seven-year-old Katelyn.
“Her kids were her life and her world. Those were the words she said to them when she said good-bye. They were what kept her going as long as she did,” Faigan-Sorger said, tearfully.
Walking annually in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers will be a way for Sorger’s friends and family to honour her generous, fighting spirit and her enthusiasm for ringette led her to co-found the annual Ringette Skates for a Cure fundraiser, a 24-hour ringette marathon whose mandate is to help fight against the insidious disease.
Pierrefondsresident Brenda Downes-Tremellen co-founded the fundraiser with Sorger in 2006, and the two worked together in raising over $100,000, even though the event was shelved last year and slated to return this fall. She said organizing the event without her longtime friend and teammate has left an empty place in her heart.
“Not a day goes by I don’t think about her. Every day. She was extremely devoted to the sport and to the event, and it’s not going to be the same without her,” Downes-Tremellen said. Sorger’s passing was a shock for Downes-Tremellen, even though Sorger was ill, because of her attitude and defiance in the face of the illness.
“Her resilience, her refusal to give up (was inspiring). Because she was such a fighter, she looked at cancer as just a hurdle. To see somebody fight like that and not give up, it’s hard to not be inspired by that,” she said.
The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers will be held this weekend and will benefit the Segal Cencer Centre at the Jewish General Hospital. Participants will walk 60 km over two days across Montreal. For more information, or to sponsor a walker, visit them online at www.endcancer.ca.
The sixth iteration of Ringette Skates for a Cure will take place Oct. 19 at Bob Birnie Arena inPointe Claire. For more information, to register, donate or volunteer, visit them on Facebook and search ‘Ringette Skates for a Cure.’