Today’s Honoree is Michelle Rickaby

Michelle was born in 1959 in Abbotsford, BC, Canada. She grew up with her
two older siblings, Bonnie and Jim. Michelle married her high school
boyfriend. They started a family with the birth of their first daughter,
Melissa. Two years later Melissa was followed by their second daughter,

In 1988, Michelle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Doctors removed
her spleen and she underwent 40 radiation treatments. After a long
recovery she returned to University to complete her Bachelor of Arts
degree. Hoping for a fresh start, the family moved to Chilliwack, but
Michelle and her husband divorced a few years later. She has worked at the
University of the Fraser Valley for the past 16 years and is currently an
education advisor for International students.

Michelle remarried in 2005 to Darren Rickaby. Together, they blended their
families of Melissa and Megan and Darren’s two sons, Curtis and Spencer,
along with their dog Tucker. Michelle and Darren love to travel to all
parts of the world for exotic adventures, the most recent being Cambodia.
It wouldn’t be unusual to find them snorkeling with sharks, riding
elephants or hiking in the jungle. Besides travelling, Michelle also
enjoys gardening, dragon boating, and writing. Michelle has published two
travel articles and, in 2009, her personal story, My Symbol of Hope, was
published in the April issue of the Canadian Living magazine.

Michelle has been a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society for over 20
years trying to “give back” the kindness and support she received during
her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and subsequent recovery. She spent too
many years worrying and has learned that “choosing to smile” makes it so
much easier to face all of life’s many challenges.

Michelle Rickaby because she is an unsung hero – without her constant encouragement
and hard efforts our book, Choosing to Smile, would not be in bookstores
across Canada helping people to cope with adversity.

I lost my entire leg, hip and pelvis to bone cancer 24 years ago. I met
Michelle 22 years ago and she has been a friend and a support person for
me from the moment we met. She and I started a support group for cancer
patients which we ran together for 11 years. She was diagnosed with
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1988 – the same disease that her brother died from
five years prior to her own diagnosis as a young mom in her 20’s. Michelle
was instrumental in getting our publishing company off the ground and
encouraging me and another friend to write our life stories along with her
in a book that we wrote together to help people get through the tough

I would also like to add that Michelle has always been determined to get
our book into the hands of those people who need encouragement the most.
She works tirelessly as an International Education Advisor at our local
university. She was a high school dropout who went back to school and then
put herself through university while raising two wonderful daughters.
Michelle is an unsung hero in so many ways and I would love to have her be
recognized for the wonderful woman she is.

Contact Information:

Glenda Standeven – co-author ‘Choosing to Smile’
Join us on Facebook ‘Choosing to Smile’
9872 Candow Street Chilliwack, BC, V2PO 4K4

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