Toni Barstis is one of those special individuals who can make you feel good just by her smile. She is an amazing wife and mother of two, a professor of chemistry at Saint Mary's College, and an endurance athlete. She started competing in triathlons at the age of 33, when some new medications gave her a bit of a break from the asthma she had struggled with since childhood.
After a few years, Toni was ready for the next challenge, and Ultraman Canada answered the call. But her training was brought to an unexpected halt: she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, months before her 40th birthday. Yet, even surgery and chemotherapy did not stop Toni from keeping Ultraman Canada on her calendar. She contacted the race organizers to let them know what was happening and that she could be a questionable participant based on how she responded to her treatment. The organizers supported Toni in her pursuit, and let her know that her spot was there if she could make it.
On August 14th, 2006, just weeks after completing chemo, Toni Barstis crossed the finish line in Penticton, B.C. - 6th out of 11 finishers with a time of 30 hours, 56 minutes, and 21 seconds. The race included a 10k swim and 90 mile bike ride on August 12, a 170 mile bike ride on August 13th, and a 56.4 mile run on August 14th.
Toni wants other women with cancer to know that they can keep living their lives, and see that there is hope in all things. She gave hope to many women dealing with ovarian cancer on August 14th and sent a very loud message to many others... live, and enjoy all the moments your life has to give.
By Amy Kuitse