One year after her father passed away, Airdronian Diane Martin, who was then 48 years old, was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

"He was diagnosed [with cancer] and he died two weeks later. So when I got diagnosed with breast cancer that was fresh in my mind."

Martin was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and would undergo a regimen of radiation, chemotherapy, and a lumpectomy. A mere seven years later, she would go through another breast cancer diagnosis.

"I went through surgery, chemotherapy, but not the radiation. The chemotherapy was all a lot harder this time. I would spend eight hours in bed, having chemotherapy and then go back the next week, and it would be four hours in bed and then the third week, you get a free week."

Up until her initial cancer diagnosis in 1999, Martin, like thousands of other women, never thought she would hear the words: “You have breast cancer."

"I had just turned 48 and there was no way I was going to have a mammogram because I thought I was too young. It turns out if I would have had one, they probably would have caught it sooner," Martin said. "Anyone who thinks that they're too young, and that includes men; everybody should be very conscious, of cancer of any kind, but breast cancer can hit anyone."

Since her two diagnoses of breast cancer, Martin has championed more than just surviving the terminal disease. She wants to champion the thriving part of life after cancer.

"I always said the word survivor is a great word, but for all of us that have been through this, I just felt like there needed to be another word and I found the word thriver," she said. "There is life after breast cancer and you can make it and it doesn't mean that you have to be happy every day of your life or sad every day of your life, but life does go on."

And this year, Martin has proven that thriving isn't just a platitude. She has been named the Ambassador of Hope for Batting Against Breast Cancer™ (BABC), an annual, family-friendly, one-day slo-pitch tournament. The tournament is in support of the breast cancer cause through the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). Martin said that she has been volunteering with BABC since its inception and she considers it an honour to be its ambassador. 

"I just want to send out a notice to all those survivors and thrivers out there; all the people that are fighting against metastatic breast cancer, and the people that are going through treatment right now. Come out and support all of these teams," Martin said. "Join the rest of the teams to raise awareness and to raise funds so that people do not have to hear the words, 'you have breast cancer.'"

Event Chairman, Heather Kostuk, said the event is in its 12th year, and it is an event that is near and dear to her heart.

"What's important is to continue the work that's already begun. We are marching to [a] million dollars raised with this tournament in this area," she said. " Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and we all know someone that has it. My mom had breast cancer, she's a survivor and I really want to help keep my fingers in that; supporting the women in our community and the men."

The million-dollar goal that Kostuk cited isn't out of the realm of possibility, as in 2019, the last time the event was held, the tournament raised $65,394.

"That brings us to a total of $971,929 raised. So we are just shy of $30,000 to reach that million-dollar mark," Kostuk said. "What we've experienced in this community is very, very much [a] generous community. They want to participate, they want to help out; we know we are looking after each other, and I think this will come out in our tournament as well."

The tournament will be held on September 10 at the Chinook Winds Ball Diamonds in Airdrie. And it has a little bit of everything to offer everyone from seasoned baseball enthusiasts to curious on-lookers. Team Registration is now open and can be completed here.

"We are not full yet, so if there's some slow pitch fanatics or even just people that love to get together and play slow pitch and if they want to participate, they're available," she said. "[There's] going to be a Family Fun Zone and we've got our local Starbucks providing coffee in the morning. We're looking for a sponsor right now for a pancake breakfast."

Kostuk, like Martin, said that for many women and many men, there is always an idea that breast cancer can't happen to them, but when it does, it is devastating.

"When my mom had breast cancer, you're looking at it and going, 'Oh, my gosh, are you going to be around?' So knowing that there are supports available when you hear those words, that's important and of course, we would like to see no cancer at all."

She underscored that this year's Ambassador of Hope, Martin, is the epitome of someone that provides hope.

"This lady is amazing. She has shown that there is life after cancer, that you can be a thriver" she said. "She just illustrates that that's possible and what life can look like for you."

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, it is estimated that 28,600 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. This represents 25 per cent of all new cancer cases in women in 2022. On average, 15 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.

"The people that come out to the Batting Against Breast Cancer, these people have survivors on their team. So come on out and join us because it's just a fun time and great family time and you can talk to other survivors thrivers out there," Martin said.

Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to