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Last updateSat, 20 Jul 2024 10am

Tickled Pink team captain tells her story


debbie-v2.jpg    In the Spring of 2004 at the age of 45, Drumheller resident Debbie Herman was diagnosed with breast cancer.
    It all happened very quickly for Debbie following the diagnosis.
    Within 24 hours, she was being prepared for major surgery. This was recommended to her to ensure all the cancerous cells were removed.
    Debbie was given two months to recover from the surgery before starting a course of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
    “During that time, my mom did a lot of research and opened my eyes to alternative healing, strength rebuilding and the rebuilding of the immune system.  I was given the proverbial wake-up call,  something happens to make you realize you should make some changes.”
    Following her two months recovery, Debbie went to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary to discuss the treatment options available.
    “As I was driving to the cancer centre for my first appointment, it hit me; I have cancer, and it was kind of overwhelming. I had had two months to come to grips with it, but I hadn’t come to terms with it.”
    As she started chemotherapy treatment, Debbie and her family continued to seek out the offerings of alternative health professionals.
    “Alternative therapists look at the possible causes of disease and offer complementary avenues to explore, in the way of therapies and supplements.”
    Finding what Debbie believed to be the best immune system and vitamin supplements, she took a vitamins regimen prepared for her to rebuild her strength during the chemotherapy treatment. 
    She continues to take some of these same supplements today.
    Debbie found the chemotherapy wasn’t as difficult as she had feared, although she started to suffer from fatigue.  Having moved into her parents’ home while recuperating from surgery, she remained there during her treatment, allowing her to concentrate on feeling well and getting better.     
    “I have to tell you that my parents are the most amazing people.  At least one of them was by my side each step of the way, at consultations, the various tests one goes through, the treatments, the questions, the answers.
    I had such positive people and support around me, I honestly have to say I was so fortunate that everything I needed was there, all the tools I needed were always there for me, and any decisions were ultimately mine to make, and I made the decisions I could live with.”
    After her treatment, Debbie was offered radiation and a 5 year drug treatment but decided against it.
    Eighteen months after the initial diagnosis, the cancer was back.
    “This time I did absolutely everything they recommended!”
    Debbie’s first thought when hearing the news was, “I have done a lot of things over and above what was recommended to me to make myself better and keep myself healthy; what did I not do?”
    At this stage, a health professional recommended she work with a life skills coach to deal with the emotional side of life, the emotional side of disease.
    “Life skills coaches look at the current situation you are in and look ahead, not back,” Debbie explains. She found this experience invaluable.
    “To some degree, I am a different person now than I was before I started that work.  In fact, although it is a bit of a cliché, having gone through the cancer experience has also changed me. I discovered things about myself and about relationships with other people, and I am able to respond to things differently...positively.” 

Drumheller resident rides to conquer cancer


cassandra-knight.jpgCassandra Knight (Liska) is getting on her bike in the streets of Drumheller with a purpose: on Saturday, June 26, she is embarking on a 200 km two day ride across the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with thousands of men and women with the same goal: riding to conquer cancer for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
    Eight years ago, Cassandra and her husband moved to Drumheller from Lethbridge, for her job at the Alberta  Employment and Immigration office.
    Cassandra is riding in honour of her dad, Jerry, who passed away in 2008, 29 days after being diagnosed on his 62nd birthday, with lung cancer.
    During this time, Cassandra found a lot of support from the cancer organization and social workers at the hospital in the Lethbridge Cancer Centre.
    She explains that the Alberta Cancer Foundation supports research and is also very pro-active with a prevention campaign.  As well, each participant is riding to raise money for breakthrough research and the discovery of new cancer therapies.
    The Alberta Cancer Foundation is dedicated to supporting cancer research and programs at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, the Cross Cancer Institute and 16 other cancer centres across rural Alberta. They provide funding for basic, translational and clinical research, advanced treatment programs, prevention and screening initiatives, equipment and facility enhancements, a patient financial assistance program and psychosocial initiatives at all Alberta cancer centres.
    Cassandra had heard about the event last year, which was the event’s first ride and told The Mail “I wasn’t prepared to take it on, I wasn’t in a position to put in enough training to be able to do it.”
    This year, Cassandra decided to take the challenge on. “I am always one to challenge myself and this is definitely a challenge for me, it is really going to push me and I like to set these kinds of goals,” she explained. 
    Recently, Cassandra took up the challenge of playing a role in Kaleidoscope Theatre’s production of Like Bees To Honey, and now that the show is over, she is concentrating on a tough training regime.
    As well as practicing on her home trainer, she has mapped areas in Drumheller to ride a 15 km radius and her aim is to cycle to Dorothy and back to Drumheller closer to the race, making it an 80 km ride.
    Cassandra has also started a blog, as part of the Ride to Conquer Cancer program, which she has found very helpful and is giving her extra motivation,  “When I wrote my story on the blog, it was sort of like a relief. When I finished, I sat back in my chair and cried for a little bit as it was re-living it a bit. The support I am getting from people I am sharing my story with, people I don’t see every day or people I don’t even know and talking about it really helps. It makes you know that you are not alone, that’s one of the biggest things I have found after everything happened, I have learned how much cancer has affected so many people.”
    Cassandra is opening an invitation to anyone in Drumheller who would like to join her in her training: “If anyone wants to go for a ride with me, people can leave me a comment and let me know if they want to join me, I am not your super fit cyclist type! If anyone wants to join me on my training, it will make it more fun.”
    Her aim is to raise $2,500 with this event, donations can be done through her blog, and she is also organizing a hot dog sale at IGA on April 17 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

For more info…

To make a donation or to see Cassandra’s blog, go to, click on Alberta, then “donate now” and search for Cassandra Knight.

To make a donation by phone, call 888-624-bike.

Two fined for cocaine possession

    Two Drumheller area residents were fined for possession of cocaine following a raid of area properties last summer.
    Phillip Judge and Christine Sorenson appeared in provincial court in Drumheller on Friday, March 26. Both were charged with possession of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking and possession of stolen property.
    They both pleaded guilty to the lesser of possession of cocaine.
    During the late evening hours of July 20 and the early morning hours of July 21, 2009, Drumheller RCMP, assisted by the Southern Alberta Emergency Response team, executed warrants at a property in  Cambria, as well as a rural property North and East of Drumheller. Judge and Sorenson were charged along with five others following the raid.
    At the property where Sorenson and Judge were located, police found 12 grams of powdered cocaine.
    Defence explained both had made serious changes to their lifestyle since the event.
    Judge, who has no previous  related record was fined $750. Sorenson has one previous conviction about a month before this incident was fined $1,000. The couple’s second count of possession of stolen property was withdrawn.


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