The 32nd annual CIBC Run for the Cure event happened at Cambrian College on Oct. 1, with the 245 participants raising $48,682. With a top up from Freelandt Caldwell Reilly, that means $50,000 for breast cancer research.
For Maureen Ylitalo, this year was the 21st anniversary, to the day of her first run. It was shortly after she was diagnosed.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer on my birthday, June 7, and I only had a 25 per cent survival rate,” she told Sudbury.com. With an aggressive form of breast cancer, Ylitalo faced aggressive treatments. Just the same, her loved ones formed a team for the run.
“Moron’s Allies,” was the name, she said with a laugh.
Everyone from her 82-year-old mother to her 5-year-old great niece came together, raising $2,500 in the process.
“They pushed me the whole five kilometers,” she said. “And that gave me my strength to fight.”
This year, Ylitalo has another reason to keep on racing. “My sister Barb was diagnosed and had a lumpectomy on the 26th of June. They didn't get clean margins. So two weeks ago, she had a full mastectomy.”
And so, this year, Ylitalo is riding her mobility scooter five kilometres for her sister, who lives in Vancouver.
“I believe in positivity,” she said. “I've never given cancer a capital C, because my name starts with a capital. “When your name has the capital, you're the winner, not cancer.”
Taking place in 53 communities across the country, including Sudbury, the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure is Canada’s largest single-day, volunteer-led initiative in support of the breast cancer cause.
Participants registered to run or walk a five kilometre or one kilometre route that began with an opening ceremony at Cambrian College.
Breast cancer continues to be the most diagnosed cancer among women, with one in eight women expected to face a diagnosis in their lifetime. Over the last five years, the Canadian Cancer Society has invested $62.6 million in breast cancer research across the country. Today, 89% of women and 80% of men with breast cancer survive at least five years past their diagnosis. Notably, since the peak of breast cancer in 1986, the death rate for Canadians with breast cancer has been nearly cut in half.
Organizer Michelle Novak told Sudbury.com the turnout and the weather was wonderful, but it was the positive energy there that made the morning for her. “I just love the excitement here. Everybody is so passionate about this, it's so uplifting,” she said. Speaking of the survivors at the event, Novak said “they've all gone through such a journey, and they're all so positive and they just want to spread that positivity everywhere.
You can find more information by visiting the Canadian Cancer Society website at www.cancer.ca
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with Sudbury.com