CORNWALL, Ontario - Emilie Bonneville was already weeks into a cancer diagnosis that would change her life, but the reality of the moment didn't hit home until her husband Scott shaved her head.
"It was a Sunday, and my hair had already begun to fall out in clumps," she recalls. "My husband just said 'We're doing this' and that's when it became real," she said in an interview. "Most of my family and friends knew about (her cancer) already, but I couldn't hide it anymore."
But the stereotypical depiction of a breast cancer patient is lost when one looks at Bonneville. She cuts a slim figure and enjoys sports and being active.
She's just 28 now, but was a year younger when the breast cancer diagnosis was made.
Bonneville said she was literally given "no choice" but to bear down and face the cancer head on.
"If I wanted to be a mom and a wife, I didn't have any other choice but to do that," she said.
What followed was eight chemotherapy sessions and 21 radiation treatments that have rid her body of cancer.
It left her scarred - a lumpectomy removed the tumour that was growing so quickly that in just six weeks it went from the size of a marble to that of a golf ball - but also gave her a new appreciation for living life to its fullest.
It also made her realize that breast cancer victims are getting younger all the time.
"It's not a disease that affects only old women," she said. "Going to the cancer clinic was a real eye-opener.
"You kind of feel like you don't click. The majority are not 27."
But some are - Bonneville knows of at least three other local women, under age 30, who are battling, or battled, the scourge of cancer.
It's why her family and friends are taking part in the CIBC Run for Cure, Oct. 6 in Ottawa.
And her group, the Real Boobies of Cornwall City, are making some serious waves when it comes to collecting money. The group has consistently been in the top 10 for all of the Ottawa region when it comes to funds collected or pledged.
She's also been consistently in the top 10 among individual fundraisers.
Bonneville has become a staunch advocate for self-examinations and visiting doctors regularly if you detect something abnormal in your body.
"You can't say it's nothing - I'm 27," she said. "I'm lucky because we caught this early."
To support Bonneville's team in the Run for the Cure, check out this link.