Every step, every stride of the CIBC Run for the Cure is important, in its own way. But some of the most meaningful steps happen right before the start of the run-walk event, when breast cancer survivors gather for a survivors’ march, set to anthemic music.
Survivors are presented with a flower, and “you just melt,” said Nanaimo’s Joanne Boyer. “Every year I get emotional.”
Boyer is the volunteer lead for the event, and she’s also a breast cancer survivor. For her, the Run for the Cure, coming up Sunday, Sept. 30, at Beban Park, is about awareness. Boyer tries to get across the importance of mammograms after she waited until age 49 to get hers, when she just happened to be at an imaging clinic after her son sprained an ankle.
“I had no pain, I had no lump, I had no idea…” she said. “It kind of makes you want to tell women, even though you don’t feel anything or suspect anything, get in there.”
She was able to get a partial mastectomy right away and she always expected she would be OK, but there was some fear.
“The whole family was scared because there was never any cancer in our family. It’s the unknown, is the really scary part about cancer,” she said.
Boyer said she didn’t seek out a lot of support from people and instead closed herself off at that time.
“There is lots of support,” she said. “You don’t have to ask for it; they’re going to offer it to you and you can take what you want to out of it.”
When she was ready, one of the first causes she got involved in was the Run for the Cure. She’s not only a survivor and a volunteer but also a participant, representing the Dream Team, which dares to dream of a day when nobody gets cancer.
Sylvia Shedden, volunteer run director, said 400 participants had registered as of last week and she was hoping for 100 more this week. It’s the 20th Run for the Cure in Nanaimo, with the previous 19 combining to raise more than $3 million.
“The money does go to support the best of breast cancer research and programs for people with breast cancer, which is very important,” Shedden said.
Nanaimo’s Beban Park is the western-most of 56 run locations across Canada, with all the events happening the same day.
“It’s very exciting, with the time difference, knowing that out in the east coast, they’ve already started three, four hours earlier and the runs are happening, the opening ceremonies are happening, just feeling that wave go all the way across the country,” Shedden said.
The run is Sunday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m. at Beban Park and runners and walkers are invited to choose either a five-kilometre or one-kilometre route. Sign-up is by minimum donation of $45 and registration is online at www.cibcrunforthecure.com or on-site starting at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event.