Making every moment count: the story of Sindy Hooper

Making every moment count: the story of Sindy Hooper

In the face of adversity, there are individuals who rise above their circumstances and inspire others with their strength and determination. One such person is Sindy Hooper of Ottawa–a runner, Boston finisher and triathlete whose incredible journey exemplifies the power of making every moment count. Through her passion for running, fundraising efforts and her unwavering spirit, Hooper and her team have not only raised awareness but also instilled hope for others dealing with pancreatic cancer, defying the odds along the way.

Hooper’s battle with cancer has been a marathon in itself. In January 2013, she received the devastating diagnosis and immediately underwent Whipple surgery, followed by chemotherapy. Given the statistics at the time, with a five-year survival rate of only 10 percent and many succumbing to the disease within six months, Hooper’s determination was extraordinary. Diagnosed in January, she completed an Ironman race in August that same year.

Sindy Hooper
Sindy Hooper reaching the finish line of the 2010 Boston Marathon. Photo: courtesy of Sindy Hooper

“I would go for CT scans every six months,” recalls Hooper. “When I reached the five-year mark, I couldn’t believe I was still here.” Inspired by her own journey, Hooper started the Make Every Moment Count team eight years ago, challenging her family and friends to join her in running the 2015 Ottawa Marathon to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. Remarkably, 132 individuals signed up to run alongside her, raising an impressive $110,000 for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation. Since then, the Make Every Moment Count crew has returned to Ottawa Race Weekend every year, accumulating a total of nearly $450,000 raised for the cause.

Sindy Hooper
Sindy Hooper and the Make Every Moment Count team at the 2015 Ottawa Race Weekend. Photo: courtesy of Sindy Hooper

Ten years after her diagnosis, Hooper continues her battle with cancer. In 2021, doctors discovered one metastasis in her left lung, prompting three rounds of chemotherapy. However, the most devastating news came a year later, when three additional metastases were found, leading to a terminal diagnosis. “Doctors told me I had one year to live,” Hooper shares. “They informed me that there’s more they cannot see.”

Despite the terminal prognosis, Hooper remains resolute in her fight, finding hope in the positive response to chemotherapy and a firm determination to participate in the Ottawa 5K with her Make Every Moment Count Team. With 30 individuals running and walking alongside her, Hooper completed the 5K in 37 minutes, while raising an astonishing $150,000 for cancer research and the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

On May 27, Sindy Hooper finished the 2023 Ottawa 5K with her Make Every Moment Count team, in 37 minutes. Photo: RunOttawa

Reflecting on the experience, Hooper expresses gratitude for the incredible support she received. “The race and the support were unbelievable,” she says. “I was thrilled to be a part of Ottawa Race Weekend and make it down here.”

Hooper’s story serves as a beacon of hope and resilience for all. She remains motivated to challenge the statistics and defy expectations, embodying the spirit of determination and the belief that every moment is worth fighting for.

“When faced with a diagnosis like this, I aspire to be the one person who defies the statistics,” Hooper affirms.

To learn more about Hooper’s fundraising efforts or make a donation, please visit the Make Every Moment Count page.

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