Ice dancer Piper Gilles cancer-free after ‘roller coaster’ six months

Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier
Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier

Canadian ice dancer Piper Gilles was diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer in December or January before winning a world championships bronze medal with partner Paul Poirier in March.

“This isn’t a poor-me story,” Gilles said, according to the Globe and Mail. “I don’t have cancer anymore. I’m good right now, but I just don’t want women to wait too long and find out it’s stage 4. I want them to listen to their bodies.”

Gilles said that her previously announced December appendectomy was precautionary “because we weren’t sure what type of tumor was inside of me on my left ovary.”

“Even now I’m still digesting everything,” she said, noting that her mom died of brain cancer in 2018. “Even that word, cancer, it’s frightening.”

Gilles and Poirier missed the Canadian Championships in January and the Four Continents Championships in February, citing the appendectomy at the time. They returned to earn their second world championships bronze medal in three years.

“It really feels like we won gold because of just everything that we had been through just to even be there,” said Gilles, who revealed her cancer diagnosis publicly on Sunday, the day before World Ovarian Cancer Day.

Gilles and Poirier, both 31, are currently touring with Stars on Ice in Canada.

Gilles was born in Rockford, Illinois, and competed for the U.S. as a junior skater before teaming with Poirier in 2011 and attaining Canadian citizenship in 2013. She has said that she uses her skating to honor her mom.

“I’m so incredibly grateful that I’m still able to do what I get to do every single day,” she said.

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