Kim Duke is an entrepreneur and writer in St. Albert, Alberta. Her cancer journey began in 2016, after she recently turned 50 years old.
“It’s one of the few things that makes me speechless all these years later,” she confesses.
Diagnosed with HER2 breast cancer, Kim’s treatment lasted more than a year; she underwent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and HER2 IV treatments. The following year was spent recovering from all of these treatments.
Still, Kim maintains a positive mindset. “Even in the midst of ugliness, there’s such beauty and kindness and love that shows up,” she says. She is grateful for all of the people in her life who helped her throughout her journey.
Kim also recalls the words of Diane, one of the managers of the Amber Project and also a breast cancer survivor, which strengthened her: “Cancer is a head game. You have to stay on top of yourself and not let it drag you down.”
“It was one of the best things that anyone could have told me,” Kim declares. “I wanted to come out of this experience better, and not bitter.”
Kim received her treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute; her experience there was a positive one. “They were absolutely fantastic,” she says. “I felt incredibly reassured that I was in the caring hands of such smart people. I will be forever grateful for them. They saved my life – I’m so, so happy about that.” Kim also mentions that seeing others going through a similar experience helped ground her.
As an entrepreneur, Kim was able to continue working while in cancer treatment, although her income was less than what it was before cancer. Now, Kim declares she will always give back to the Alberta Cancer Foundation as thanks to the life-saving treatment she received at the Cross Cancer Institute; she has also been donating a percentage of her earnings from her books and writing programs.
On donating, Kim states that everyone will have someone in their lives who will go through cancer. “Your family, friends, yourself, co-workers – someone’s going to get hit by this. Cancer is devastating. It is the hardest thing you will ever have to go through: fighting for your life.”
She explains how life doesn’t stop just because of cancer; people still have to work out their financial situation and general life tasks, such as: income and work, utilities, and groceries – all while fighting for their lives.
“So donate. Donate every year, and tell everyone you know to donate, as well.”
Although her cancer journey was gruelling, Kim saw it as an opportunity to refocus on what her life’s calling truly is. Today, Kim has found her purpose by helping women worldwide learn to write through Scribbly, a company she founded since her cancer journey.
Scribbly has empowered multiple women to find their voice, share their stories and connect with themselves.
Kim has lived up to this in her own way by writing her book, A Fine Mess – An Amazon best-seller, about her cancer journey and how to overcome unexpected, life-changing events.
“Did I go through a pile of crap? Yes. Yes, I did,” Kim affirms. “But even from manure piles, flowers shall bloom. I’m living proof of that, for sure.”
To those going through cancer, Kim says: “Just know that you are strong enough to get through this. It’s not about positive thinking. It’s about tapping into the inner strength that you do have. And you will be able to rise above these circumstances.”
She also recommends writing down every appointment, treatment, test, and any other task, and to plan a reward for every task completed. Some of Kim’s rewards for herself included many books, spending time with close friends, and even traveling.
Kim’s parting words are: “If you’re a donor, give more. If you’re not a donor, step up.” She adds, chuckling, “There’s my last bossy comment of the day.”
You can learn more about Kim Duke, and her incredible work, on her website!
Learn more about breast cancer and how you can help us make life better for Albertans facing it.