CIBC Walk for the Cure garners $54,000 for breast cancer research

Breast Cancer survivors are presented with carnations during a ceremony commending the women for their struggles against Cancer, Sunday Oct. 6, 2019. The CIBC Walk for the Cure raised over $54,000 in Grande Prairie, and saw roughly 350 people come out to support the rally. John Watson / Daily Herald Tribune

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Roughly 350 people clad in white and pink took to Muskoseepi Park for the CIBC Run for the Cure last Sunday where they raised more than $54,000 for breast cancer research.

The annual event, which is now in its 23rd year nationally, encourages folks across the country to run for the one-in-eight women in Canada who are affected by the disease.

“Grande Prairie is such a great community for fundraising and this kind of thing,” said Volunteer Run Director Janice Lovejoy.

“Everybody’s very motivated to be here (and) we all know someone who’s been touched by breast cancer, let alone any kind of cancer so this is very helpful to the research.”

Notice for the campaign is typically released six months prior to the run and allows folks plenty of time to fundraise should they so choose.

Wanda Robinson was recognized for her battle with cancer and was one of 20 survivors in attendance at the run.

“I was diagnosed in May 2015 with a lump in my breast,” she said. “June I had my surgery and there was a blip on the CT scan and it turns out I have stage four metastasized bone cancer.”

She continued, laughing, that doctors had given her five to 10 years to live and she was still going strong nearly five years since the diagnosis.

“It took me a bit to get here but it is what it is,” said Robinson.

Addressing those who may be going through similar struggles, she encouraged them to “just keep going” and not to give up.

“We are all here for the same reason—cancer. Cancer touches everybody in one way or another,” said Donna Chissell, the co-ordinator of the annual giving for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“I’m just amazed at how strong these women are and at the support they show for one another. It really tells their story.”

For Chissell, the disease hits close to home after her mother lost her battle with lung cancer.

“For me and a lot of the crowd, it’s more than just about breast cancer,” said City Coun. Chris Thiessen, who was asked to speak at Sunday’s rally.

“It’s about cancer and it’s about finding the cure for it and ending that has caused so many people so much grief in their lives.”

Lovejoy emphasized that there was more to the run than just the financial side.

“It’s devastating and especially in the process because you want to be there for that person and you don’t know how exactly,” said Lovejoy.

“It’s nice to know you’re not alone in the journey sometimes, that’s the big thing. This (event) let’s people know they’re not alone.”