Running for the cure
You can help make a difference
By Melanie Walsh, Photo Editor
According to Statistics Canada about one in nine Canadian women are expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime: that is 68 Canadians every day.
October is dedicated to breast cancer awareness to not only shed light on the devastating epidemic, but also honour the brave women who have battled breast cancer; those we have lost and those who continue to fight.
On Oct. 2, nearly 100,000 people adorned their pinkest clothing items and headed to locations across Canada for the CIBC Run for the Cure. The event was more than just a fundraiser. It was a chance to fight back, celebrate and remember.
It was truly remarkable to see the huge crowds of people, a flood of pink, fluffy tutus and shirts with supportive slogans.
Throughout the course of the five kilometer walk I was inspired and moved several times. I was walking alongside my 26-year-old cousin, Courtney Phillips, who is battling breast cancer for the second time within a year. Courtney is more of a sister to me having spent the better half of our childhood growing up together. She taught me how to kick a soccer ball, how to cook and bake and would always pick me up from late night study sessions when the city transit was no longer running. She underwent a mastectomy only a few weeks before the run and on that morning she was smiling and acting as her beautiful and goofy self with her curly thick hair coming back in full force after losing it all the prior year.
Courtney has faced many adversities the past year. She has gone through two operations, chemotherapy and is now completely changing her lifestyle as she is undergoing homeopathic treatments. Despite all the adversities she has been forced to face, this event was a change to honour that and gather with her caregivers, friends and family for a positive and uplifting event.
Breast Cancer affects so many women through potential hair loss, damage to the reproductive system and mastectomies – some things that women should not have to go through.
Mixed in with the sea of runners, along with the heartwarming feeling of hope and support – furry canines were sporting some pink collars and sweaters on the chilly autumn morning. That’s when I noticed Stella (pictured top right) waddling through the parade of pink, donning a little sign pinned to her doggie sweater reading “I’m running for my mom.” Touched by the sweetness I introduced myself to the owner – Heather Williams, a six-year Breast Cancer survivor.
Heather let me pet and embrace her fur baby and shared with me how truly special the pooch was to her. No longer able to have children of her own, Stella is now her baby. Heather and Stella make sure to attend the Run for the Cure annually, an activity they can do together.
Support is such a vital factor when battling cancer, for the survivors themselves and the caregivers. Having a whole month dedicated to spreading awareness about the issues and having fundraisers is a way the average person could help change the glum statistics. All of the money raised from the run will go towards the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. They will invest in groundbreaking research, improving screening technology, developing new and targeted treatments and discovering how to reduce the rate of recurrence.