Running for the cure

This year on Oct. 4, I took part in Winnipeg’s CIBC Breast Cancer Run for the Cure. At 9 a.m., everyone from infants to seniors gathered at the MTS Centre to participate in the event.
In this 18th annual run, 5,100 people participated, achieving a phenomenal fundraising total of close to $802,000. The floor of the arena was like a sea of pink shirts, headbands and anything else you could think of. A team of guys even painted their entire bodies pink!
On one side of the arena, there was something called a wall of hope, where participants could write down the name of the person they were running for on a pink paper butterfly and stick it on the wall. The name could be of a person who has survived breast cancer, someone who has passed away from it or some people just put “everyone,” because even though they may not have known anyone who passed away from breast cancer, they still would like to support the cause. My cousin survived breast cancer, so I had the chance to write down her name on a butterfly.

Beside the wall of hope there were pink shirts being given out for the survivors of breast cancer, while participants in the run had on white shirts. The amount of pink shirts that could be seen was just unbelievable. There were so many people there that had survived breast cancer, all truly inspiring people!

Before the runners and walkers began their journey there was a stretching workout to be done. There was also an exercise in which everyone had to keep pink beach balls in the air to show that, as long as everyone can keep those balls up in the air together, cancer can be beat!
After the exercises, it was time for the run to begin. All of the runners and walkers made their way out of the arena and outside into the rain where people with noise makers and drums were cheering everyone on. People had the option to walk or run and to do 1 km or 5 km. A couple of my friends and I participated; we walked the 5 km.

People doing the run were always supportive of one another, cheering each other on and giving high-fives. It was an event that could only be witnessed to know what the definition of support and teamwork really means. All along the route were volunteers to cheer people on and to encourage them to keep going. Halfway through the walk, there was even a marching band!
Once everyone had completed the run, there were closing ceremonies and awards given out to teams and people who raised the most money. Jay and Billie Jo from 102.3 Clear FM were there to host the closing ceremonies. There were also a couple of speeches from breast cancer survivors and their families. Their stories were inspirational and the things that they had to go through were horrible.

A couple of friends and I were inspired just seeing all of the people doing the run. It was just amazing to see how much people care about a cause like this. It goes to show the supportive spirit of the people in Winnipeg.

“As a former Run for the Cure volunteer, the atmosphere of the run wasn’t new to me. There’s always an intense feeling of hope filling the MTS Centre,” said Kerri MacKay, a fellow runner.
MacKay elaborated, “I initially got involved with Run for the Cure as a volunteer, but I knew I wanted to do something more. This is why I got involved in the run in 2009, joining the sea of people walking and running — a symbol of the journey towards a common goal: a future without breast cancer. During both the 5 km and the 1 km walk/run, the finish line isn’t always in sight. But, there is a point where you see it, and keep persevering towards it — much as we do as a community seeking to create a future without breast cancer.”

For Canadian women, breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer. It is estimated that this year 22,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 5,400 of them will die from it. But breast cancer does not only affect women. 180 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and out of those men 50 will die from it. Sadly, an average 437 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer every week and on average 104 Canadian these women die each week.

“The finish line in finding a cure is not in sight yet, but we get closer every single day, and financial and time contributions to organizations like the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation help get us one step closer to a cure for a disease that affects so many people – directly or indirectly,” comments MacKay.

The next CIBC Run for the Cure is Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010. Who are you running for?