The devastation of a cancer diagnosis can be debilitating for patients and their loved ones alike. For many, the only answer is to take action.
On Sept. 30, more than 1,000 Kamloops residents will once again participate in the 21st annual Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, and nearly every one of those runners have been touched by the disease.
The Webber family is just one example — breast cancer has been a constant in their lives for more than a decade.
The family first joined as Run for the Cure participants in Calgary in 2000 while supporting family member Heather Webber, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid 30s.
“The diagnosis of such a fit, healthy, vibrant and young person was shocking to me as someone with no prior experience with breast cancer,” said Julia Webber.
Two years after they found out about Heather, Julia’s mother Margaret Webber was diagnosed.
“It felt like the bottom of the world fell out,” said Julia. “The fear and confusion and onslaught of new medical terms were overwhelming.”
In the 10 years since Margaret’s diagnosis, two other family members have also been affected by breast cancer.
And when Heather died in 2011, the mother-daughter team decided to get involved in organizing Run for the Cure in their respective communities, Kamloops and Vancouver.
“Over the years, it has become increasingly clear to me that I want to do what I can to help make breast cancer less threatening and fear-inducing,” said Julia.
Today, Julia is the volunteer team fundraising co-ordinator for the CIBC Run for the Cure in Vancouver. Margaret now co-ordinates the Kamloops run which will take place this year at 9 a.m. on Sept. 30 at Riverside Park.
The Kamloops campaign to end breast cancer also includes a number of restaurants for the third year in a row that commit to donating a portion of dessert sales from Sept. 14 to Oct. 16 to breast cancer research, education and awareness programs.
The Tickled Pink Dessert campaign includes both Ric’s Grill locations, the Hoodoos at Sun Rivers, Duffy’s Pub, the Commodore and the Fireside Steakhouse.
And once again this year, Rocky Mountaineer and Interior Whitewater Expeditions have provided three enticing prizes for Run for the Cure participants.
The prize for a breast cancer survivor includes a SilverLeaf Service overnight train trip from Vancouver to Banff or Calgary worth $3,358. The second for a registered team offers an eight-hour rafting adventure through Wells Gray Provincial Park worth $250. And the third for a registered participant or volunteer offers a three-hour rafting trip through the park worth $189.
A variety of other prizes will also be handed out throughout the day.
As of Tuesday, Sisters of the Heart had collected the most donations at $6,244, surpassing their $6,000 goal with hot dog sales, steak dinners, pink smoothie days and more.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure is the largest single-day, volunteer-led national event in Canada in support of breast cancer.
Kamloops joins 58 other communities across the country raising funds for breast cancer research, education and awareness programs.
Last year 1,300 Kamloops residents walked or ran the one-kilometre or five-kilometre event helping to raise over $189,500.