It’s hard to believe just how much hardship Kath Kilcullen has suffered in her life.
She was diagnosed with Lupus in 1993, endured dozens of painful surgeries — 40 on one knee alone.
Then in 2006, she developed a rare form of cancer.
The cancer spread, and over the next few years, doctors had to amputate both her legs.
She’s endured years of difficult cancer treatments to fight the disease.
“I was told we only had months at the time of diagnosis and that was 11 years ago,” Kilcullen said from her Dorval home.
In a cruel twist of fate, two years ago, she was hit by a car, rendering her right arm almost useless.
It’s been difficult for her, because she relied on her right arm to help her get around in her wheelchair.
Yet, the 58-year-old never gave up.
“They said to me, ‘you will never walk again.’ I said, ‘watch me.’ And I learned to walk,” Kilcullen said.
Her four kids and 12 grandchildren keep her going.
“It’s unbelievable just to have them believe in me, that I can do anything, so I really start to believe that I can do anything,” she told Global News.
She’s now determined to help others and raise money to fight cancer.
While she may be a role model to many, she says her idol is Terry Fox.
“I want Terry’s legacy to continue. It is so important to me that his dream carries on through us until we find the cure,” she said.
Kilcullen keeps active daily and has an adapted skateboard that she uses regularly in her local skate park.
Sunday, she’ll be on the skateboard, raising money for Montreal’s Terry Fox Run.
“When you have been through hell and back, you want to show people the impossible can be done,” she said.
“You want to teach kids that they can do anything if they try hard enough.”
Her energy astonishes her husband.
“She is wonderful,” Andre Bergeron said.
“Whenever I feel down or something, I just look at her and say, ‘hey what do you have to be down?'”
She said she’s nervous about the race, and navigating Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets on her skateboard — but the race is too important to miss.
“The treatments were brutal and my body has taken a really bad hit with it, but it was worth it to be able to come through and show people what you can still do and to pay it forward,” she said.
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