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Quebec woman who had same cancer as Terry Fox runs for a cure

For as long as she can remember, Cassandra Harding has taken part in the Terry Fox Run.

Walking through the streets of Pointe-Claire, Que., Harding, 20, participated in this year's annual event, named after the Canadian icon who attempted a cross-country run in 1980 to raise money for cancer research.

This time, Harding's connection to the event became much more personal.

"The world went quiet when I heard those words, 'You have cancer,'" she told CTV National News.

"Those aren't words that you want to ever hear, but I knew from that day on the battle began and had to take it one step at a time."

At 19, Harding was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the same bone cancer that cut short Fox's Marathon of Hope. He died at the age of 22 after the cancer returned and spread to his lungs.

Asked how she got through her toughest moments, Harding said she just tried to stay positive.

"I definitely had my down days but I didn't let them keep me down for too long and changed the negatives into positives to get me through the day," she said. "But it was rough, it was really rough,"

Although Fox had to have his leg amputated because of the cancer, advancements in treatment allowed Harding to keep hers.

"The doctor said to me, 'If this was 10 years ago you would have lost your leg.' There was no doubt about it," she said.

Wendy Robinson, an administrative assistant at John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire, said Harding's diagnosis was really hard for many people at the school, including students and staff.

"So proud of her," Robinson said. "She is tough, tough, tough."

But weeks after Harding finished her chemotherapy, her 18-year-old sister started treatment for the same type of cancer.

This year, Harding chose to walk for her, saying, "My sister, I have her in my heart. She's my rock, she's my best friend and I wish she could be here with me today."

Now in remission, Harding is sharing her story to show that fundraisers like the Terry Fox Run do help people.

Without that fundraising, Harding says she wouldn't have a leg today.

"A lot of people don't know where the money is going," she said. "But for them to see a product of the money, I think it makes everything so much more special." Top Stories

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