THUNDER BAY – It may not be quite the way organizers envisioned celebrating the event’s 30th anniversary, but Thunder Bay’s Run for the Cure fundraiser proved it still has legs during a second year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 150 people walkers and runners joined the cause locally on Sunday, helping to raise around $30,000 that will support breast cancer research and supports for those undergoing treatment through the Canadian Cancer Society.
Both of those figures are about half of pre-COVID results, but run director Bonnie Titteferrante said organizers were happy to simply keep the event on its feet – and would continue fundraising efforts throughout October, which marks breast cancer awareness month.
That will include a “pumpkinfest” at the Intercity Mall next weekend, with more information available at the group’s Facebook page.
The fundraiser celebrated its 30th year nationally, and 25th locally, this year with a second virtual run, with participants choosing their own routes.
Many still showed up to run or walk outside of the usual venue, Fort William Stadium, looking to capture at least a sliver of the usual sense of community and camaraderie.
Titteferrante and other organizers set up a small table to offer refreshments and encouragement to those groups.
“We had quite a few people who said, ‘thanks for keeping the event alive,’” she said. “It really seems to be important in the breast cancer community.”
The event helps show those impacted by breast cancer they’re not alone, and that life continues after a diagnosis, said Titteferrante.
Her own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29. Three decades later, she said there’s far more help for those going through the same experience.
“The treatment has tremendously improved,” she said. “I think it’s why I keep coming back – I really do believe we’re making a difference.”
The prognosis for those diagnosed with breast has increased since the 1980s, with the five-year survival rate now estimated at 88 per cent.
Breast cancer accounts for around one quarter of all new cancer diagnoses for women in Canada, with about one in eight Canadian women diagnosed in their lifetime.