500 people take part in annual Run for the Cure
Bewigged and bedazzling in pink, co-workers Grace Schweertman, her daughter Richelle Schweertman and Sandy Jenkins, were decked out in pink gear at the Run for the Cure on Sunday in Simcoe in honour of two co-workers dealing with breast cancer. SUSAN GAMBLE/Postmedia News
A sea of pink boas, bandanas, tutus, wigs and beads on Sunday was a testament to the fact Norfolk is still firmly behind the challenge to end breast cancer through research funds.
A crowd of about 500 people ran and walked the course at the Simcoe event in memory or in honour of family members, friends and co-workers who have faced the disease.
"Auntie Kim died of breast cancer, so we've been doing this run for two years," said 10-year-old Drake Byrne-Laforme before going to run.
Decked out in pink "Kimmy's Crusaders" shirts with a photo of Kim Modesty on the front, the Byrne-Laforme family was ready to tackle the course for the third time. Drake and his dad do the run while the girls prefer to walk.
"Auntie Kim died when I was a baby," said Drake's sister Kingsley, 6.
Their mother, Jaymie Byrne-Laforme said the family not only remembers Kim with the day but honours many others as well.
"We're aware that we're surrounded every day by sisters, mothers, grandmothers and aunts who face this disease," she said.
In the Norfolk community, the breast cancer event has seen ebbs and flows but has tremendous staying power for many.
Organizer Gail Catherwood said the event has been sponsored for all 18 years by CIBC and the local CIBC team works diligently to help raise funds, this year topping $20,000.
Food sponsor Sobeys has also been part of the event for all 18 years.
"We have survivors here who are some of the same survivors who attended from Day 1 and that's proof that the research is helping," said Catherwood, who is also a Day 1 participant. She's been organizing the event for 18 years.
By the time the runners and walkers had hit the streets of Simcoe, the tally on funds brought in had hit $90,000 -- $12,000 more than last year at the same point, with an expectation of thousands more over the next few days.
With changes this year to the Canadian Cancer Society, that money is likely to go further, said Catherwood.
The society has merged with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in order to cut administrative costs and overlapping operations, a move made necessary by drastic drops in donations to both groups.
"Everyone is downsizing these days and this means more money to research," said Catherwood. "We all work hard but are volunteers so anything that lessens the percentage that goes to administration would be a great thing."
The run was also used to emphasis an important message to women: there's still work to be done.
Gerry Hamill, who has also been helping emcee the event since it began, told the crowd only 62 per cent of eligible women in the region are being screened for breast cancer.
"That means 38 per cent of eligible women are not being screened, so encourage your friends to get screened."
For more information or to see fundraising winners from the event, go to www.cibcrunforthecure.com.