SASKATOON — A decade ago Brenda Cheveldayoff received life-threatening news that would completely change her life: she had ovarian cancer. Shock and disbelief were her initial reaction.
“Back in 2012, I was told to get my affairs in order. I had that conversation with the doctor. I experienced going to the doctor’s office and what was it like to hear that you have cancer,” Cheveldayoff, who said waiting for the doctor felt like an eternity for her, told SASKTODAY.ca.
“You know, then they are going to tell you something like that, they make sure they clear the room. They don’t have people sitting in the waiting room and you are brought into the doctor’s office for your appointment. You are in that room but the minutes felt like hours.”
Upon hearing the news, she decided she wouldn't be going down without a fight. She went through chemotherapy and radiation sessions and then took care of her health by changing her diet and overall lifestyle
Fast forward to 2022, Cheveldayoff, now a cancer survivor, wants to be an inspiration not only to other people who are battling the dreaded disease but to everyone who has faced adversity or is undergoing a rough time.
She led the Doukhobor Dugout House project with the help of other descendants and the Department of Archaeology of the University of Saskatchewan in establishing the historical site in the Blaine Lake area.
Her latest exploit was when she represented Canada in the 2022 Miss World International held in Miami, Florida from Aug. 20 to 27. She bested 77 contestants to win the Miss World International-Pro and Miss World International Fitness titles.
The Miss World International Fitness crown an open division, was extra special for her as the now 61-year-old Cheveldayoff beat contestants that were in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
“I competed in the regional area, which is the province, then worked my way up. Once you have won, you can apply to represent Canada. So I did go through all of that and I was to compete in 2019,” said Cheveldayoff.
“However, the pandemic hit, and then the world shut down because of the virus. I could not go anywhere. Nobody can fly and do anything."
That went on for almost two years. The organizers decided to defer
She spent the whole week in Miami where she experienced the various activities calendared while also bonding with the other contestants.
“I was getting older and I wanted to get this done. I went there for a week and it was a lot of work. It was hard for me and when I got back home, I was exhausted. Travelling was a nightmare for anybody going out and coming back to Canada. Still, it was a great experience and I met a lot of amazing people,” added Cheveldayoff.
“There was so much media there and it was something new that you don’t see in Saskatchewan. Walking on the red carpet, which I used to only see on TV, I experienced that. I have lots of photos and videos. It was fascinating just to be part of that and represent Canada. And to come home with two titles, it was worth it.”
Having survived cancer and winning the Miss World International Fitness crown, Cheveldayoff is advocating for a healthy lifestyle to inspire others, especially living in a fast-paced world that relies too much on technology.
“When the world shut down, a lot of people ended up sitting in their homes more. I think it is important that we look after our health and if we don’t do that as individuals, no one is going to do it for us.”