During Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, we caught up with our PHA program coordinator and remarkable 10-year Bladder Cancer Survivor, Courtney Blackshaw, about her journey with bladder cancer.

 Courtney’s story began with a diagnosis of muscle invasive bladder cancer at just 30 years old. Following a challenging year of treatment, she emerged with a remarkably positive outcome.

Now, a decade into surviving, she dedicates her time to volunteering with Bladder Cancer Canada and sits as co-chair of the Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk. Through her story, she spreads hope, encourages early detection, and generously shares resources for those in the fight.


  • Listen To Your Body: Recognizing and responding to early signs of bladder cancer helps you take proactive steps to address it. “I would tell anyone at any stage of life to listen to your body, understand how your body works, and what feels normal and what does not. If you feel a bit off, something could be going on,” says Courtney. If you think there might be an issue with your health, listen to your body and speak to your doctor. 
  • Recognizing Signs and Symptoms: Checking for the signs and symptoms of any disease can help with early detection. “Even just a general feeling of unwellness is worth getting checked out because you never know, it could be nothing, but it could be something.” says Courtney. The first and most common sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Sometimes, urine may appear normal in color, but blood can still be detected with a urine test. Other signs and symptoms include:
    • Burning or itching during urination
    • Frequent and urgent urination
    • Back pain 
    • Fatigue
  • Finding Support: Whether it is leaning on your family and friends or reaching out to a peer support group like Bladder Cancer Canada or Wellspring, finding support within your community  can make all the difference in your journey with bladder cancer. Advocacy support groups like the ones mentioned can provide beneficial services like therapy, group chats, exercise programs, and other initiatives for cancer patients. If you are looking to support anyone going through this diagnosis or the Bladder Cancer Society, join the annual Canada Walks for Bladder Cancer event in September by clicking the link below, Or donating to Bladder Cancer Canada.

Join the bladder cancer awareness walk

The Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk will be held in Calgary in September.

Visit Bladder Cancer Canada to get involved. And don’t forget to wear yellow – because #yellowhelps!

Courtney is a certified Personal Trainer from MRU, has a certification in nutrition for healthy lifestyles from SAIT, and graduated at the top of her class with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and wellness from Arizona State University. Courtney recently underwent treatment for cancer. Through this process, she has come out with a new outlook on life. Her experience taught her that the power of positive thinking, determination and living an active life does make all the difference in the world. 

Courtney Blackshaw

Courtney Blackshaw, Proactive Health Program Coordinator