The annual XTERRA: Conquer the Crater triathlon took place over the weekend to raise money for the Miles Against Cancer fund (MAC). Athletes, volunteers and supporters all gathered at Kivi park to push their limits and show their support for the cause.
“I think people are just excited to be out and participating and the volunteers have been amazing,” said Karen Passi, volunteer co-ordinator of XTERRA. “Obviously, without the volunteers, this event couldn’t have happened. So, Kudos to everyone who came out to help us because it’s for a great cause.”
The MAC fund was created by Tracy Hayes and John Macdonald when their son was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma when he was two years old. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue. When the couple set out to get treatment for their son, the expenses of traveling to the nearest children’s hospital became a concern.
“Families get thrust into, especially those living in Northern Ontario, having to pack up, leave and either go to Sick Kids in Toronto or CHEO in Ottawa” said Macdonald. “And those upfront costs can be overwhelming when you’re just trying to deal with the reality that your child has been diagnosed with cancer.”
The pair decided to create an event that would raise awareness and money for families who need the extra help to get treatment for their children comfortably. They partnered with the Northern Cancer Foundation in creating the annual XTERRA race because they wanted to do something local for Northern Ontario families.
“Without asking, this is given to you. So you’re not feeling like you’re asking for a favour, or you’re an added burden, or there are people who are worse off than I am, or I have an OK income, we’ll be fine. It’s just ‘here you go’ and use it the way you need to,” Hayes said.The fund allows families to receive a $2,000 cheque to cover any costs of travels to pediatric hospitals in Ontario. To find out more about the Miles Against Cancer fund, visit their website here to donate or participate in the next XTERRA triathlon.