a humbling moment…

It is not very often that I am truly surprised. I think I have a sense of when something is going on! But yesterday I was truly blindsided! My son’s Junior High School Football Team , Jacob Hespeler Secondary School, surprised me totally yesterday. What a fine group of kids!

So let’s start at the beginning shall we. Some of you know and some of you may not know…But January of 2011 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. My story is well documented on this blog. But I am well now and back to work thanks to some terrific doctors and surgeons and specialists. I have been back to work full time for just under two years. It was a physical and emotional struggle, but I feel like I came out the other side of Cancer as a stronger person. But, human nature being what it is, you get caught up in the business of everyday life and it’s not that you forget your struggle but you put it on the back burner.

And then yesterday happens and you are reminded that you did it and some people don’t forget that you did it and they are very proud of you for surviving your struggle! Enter my son Jared and his friend Brandon…

As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and what my son and his friend initiated for yesterday’s game made me so proud and humbled. Many football teams across North America, be it the NFL right down to the young kids playing at entry level football, drape themselves in breast cancer pink to support the cause. Well yesterday, the JHSS Junior Football team took it a step further and each member of the team placed a strip of pink tape down the center of their helmet and each child wrote my name on their helmet. All 38 kids!

So I get to the field and was standing and chatting with Brandon’s dad, Corey. Corey asked me if I could see the kids’ helmets. I said that I could and they all had pink tape down the back of the helmets. He then asked if I could see what was written on them. I said that I could not. It was then that he told me that my name was on each helmet. I can hardly describe how I felt. It was like someone had punched me in the gut. It took my breath away and had immediate tears in my eyes. I was being remembered for my struggle and honoured in such a precious way. I can honestly say it is one of those moments as a parent that you are truly prouder than proud of your child! The fact that he and Brandon initiated this and that each kid on that team embraced the idea and demonstrated their support. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I immediately made my way over to the players side of the field to seek out Jared and Brandon and gave them a huge hug! Once I had thanked them individually, i went back to my seat feeling a little numb! But I felt ALIVE! And so proud of myself in this special moment. I. DID.IT. I felt good!

At the end of the game, which we won (WOOP, WOOP), I made it over to the team and thanked them all. You guys are a great group of kids. Your parents should be proud of you all!








  1. OH MY Judy! knowing these kids like I do, my heart grew 10 sizes and my eyes are filled with tears. The pride you must feel and we all feel is overwhelming. With all the day to day struggles these kids endure, for them to stop and show this much support is absolutely amazing. You have wonderful children. Congratulations to the team, players and you.

  2. Judy, I don’t know you, but I do now through Barb Martindale. This storey really touched me. I think of football players as tough, macho guys, but for them to do something of this magnetude for someone as special as you, really got me! You raised wonderful kids, and from what I hear from Barb, all these kids in the team basically grew up together in front of their eyes.. They are truely wonderful kids, and they deserve the best! I’m so glad that you survived this struggle, and enjoying everyday in the midst of so many lovedones! Congratulations to you and these awesome kids! Shahani

  3. Michelle Yurick says:

    Very beautiful and thank you for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you !!

  4. What a beautiful story! A big thumbs up to the Jacob Hespeler Public School’s football team! And of course, I am really glad to know that you’re perfectly fine now!

  5. Judy — Presley just shared your blog on her fb page. I had no idea you had been diagnosed with breast cancer. God bless. What an inspirational story, such pride and joy – I will think of the team and you every time I drive past the field at JHSS. ~Amanda Roberts~

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow, what an amazing thing to do!! Such great kids Judy!!! What a moment-brought tears to my eyes, you are so loved!!xo
    helene h

  7. Oh brings tears to my eyes too! Definitely a great group of kids!

  8. Stefanie Terry says:

    My son is also on the team. We got some stickers for his hockey teams helmets for tonight’s game. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  9. Frank Vriezen says:

    Both young men are on the Jacob track & field team as well.. and what they’ve done here is a true reflection of their character…and of their upbringing.. wishing you continued good health.

  10. Lisa Rumbolt says:

    OMG…Judy!…have not been on your blog in a while and had no idea about you having breast cancer….and then you tell this story, it put a knot in my chest…wow!….You should be very proud of your family and of yourself getting thru such an ordeal…your boys sound awesome!…Lisa

    • Hey Lisa…So good to hear from you! I am so proud of the evolution that Cancer created in me and my family! Jared and his friend Brandon make me very prideful to know them!

  11. Angela (Harnum) Stafilidis says:

    my heart sank and the tears came on. With so much horror in this world it only takes a few generous moments to make the world a happier place.

    thank you for story.

  12. Hi Judy,What an inspirational story. You’re an amazing person with a great family. I have shared your story on my Facebook – Everyone needs to hear positives stories. Thanks for sharing . Shannon Phillips

  13. Bev Martin says:

    What a beautiful testament to you Judy. You must feel amazing. Reading your story gave me goosebumps and made me cry.

  14. Judy, thanks so much for sharing the story which led us to Wednesday’s Jacob-Preston game where our Jr Jacob H Hawks sported the flashy pink “Judy Beeksma” stripes down the middle of their helmets. Yours is a wonderful story of a positive outcome in a battle with breast cancer journey which deserves to be celebrated & used to demonstrate the need for breast cancer awareness & its early detection. Unfortunately, your sons’ teammates & friends, Sean & Karl Borkhoff, did not get to experience a similar positive outcome for their Auntie Susan. I dare to share that story with you to reinforce to others that breast cancer, despite early detection, can go either way. Auntie Susan (my brother’s widow raising a 7 year old son, Nathan & a 3 year old daughter, Lauren) was diagnosed with stage 4 advanced breast cancer in December of 2006, despite having a “clear” mammogram in Late Sept or early Oct of that same year & with no history of breast cancer in her family. She, as were we all, was stunned by the news. Despite the best doctors, a mastectomy, & experimental treatments at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, the seeds spread throughout Susan’s lymph system & after a four year battle, the cancer spread to her spine, then her her pelvic bone, liver, lung & finally her brain. Finally almost 5 years to the day of her initial diagnosis, Susan succumbed to the disease on December 16, 2011. Her sister Sharon is now raising my deceased brother’s & Susan’s children. The entire ordeal has been challenging for everyone in both families, but it’s been particularly hard on Norm & Susan’s children, nieces & nephews & especially, Karl & Sean, whom just can’t imagine what life can be like without parents.
    When Sean was in grade 9, he said to us, “If anyone should be wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness, I should be.” That was when Sean & I began our quest to dress him in flashy pink football accessories. It has been challenging in its own right because the accessories sell out early & quickly. I was able to get him spats for this season, but I guess it was hard for his teammates because when I showed up at the Jacob game during the 2nd week of Oct, I noticed that Sean was wearing one pink spat & one white one. Turns out he had switched one with Mario P so he could show his own support! That impressed upon me how just how much our boys believe in supporting the mums, aunts & cousins in their lives. So I was really thrilled when I arrived at the Preston game on Wednesday & discovered that the players were sporting those flashy pink stripes on their helmets. When I was told that those stripes were not just ordinary stripes, but stripes honouring Judy Beeksma, Breast Cancer SURVIVOR, I was very touched & emotional, & felt goose bumps up & down my entire body. What bigger inspiration is there for these young men to embrace than one of their own, & a survivor of breast cancer disease. Thank you to Jared for sharing his mum’s diagnosis & outcome with his teammates & friends & thank you to Jared & Brandon for inspiring their teammates & friends to dedicate their final game of the regular season to you, Judy. I thought the boys seemed to be playing with more determination, bringing their game with more heart than usual. & now I know why!!! I was so glad to be right there when you lead the team in their final cheer before leaving the field!

    • Elaine, I am so sorry to hear your story and how many other similar stories are out there. So much work still needs to be done to cure Breast Cancer. So many countless beautiful people are lost through Cancer…it is so sad! And so many countless young children have to learn how ugly Cancer is! But through gestures, such at the one on Wednesday by the Jr. JHSS Hawks, it keeps the fight alive and maybe these young children will help in the fight for years to come. My story had a different ending and that outcome is definitely not lost on me. I thank God for it everyday!!! That is what made Wednesday’s tribute so profound for me. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I will think of it often!

  15. You are loveable Judy! I am so happy you get to see the love and support others have for you. It truly means everything. You have great kids. You are so lucky. And I am so proud of how you flourish in all their support and love. Always giving back. You are such a special light. xoxox Jewel


  1. […] and private emails yesterday after the post about what JHSS Junior Football Team did for me on Wednesday. I really felt the love and I really appreciate […]

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