Decked out in pink from head-to-toe, thousands of supporters hit Toronto’s streets for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
The organization’s annual CIBC Run for the Cure is Canada’s largest single-day, community-driven event for breast cancer.
Donning a pink “survivor” sash, Alexandra Ginty says events like this helped her battle breast cancer three years ago. Ginty draws a parallel between running and fighting breast cancer.
“It’s teamwork. You couldn’t get through it by yourself. It’s all those people cheering you on when you’re so weak and exhausted that get you to the finish line,” Ginty said.
Sandra Palmaro, CEO of the Ontario region CBCF, says this year’s event took place at more than 60 locations, which is the most the foundation has ever had.
The first CIBC Run for the Cure was held in 1992 and raised $85,000. Last year, the run raised more than $12 million for research, health education and advocacy programs.
“We’ve seen the mortality rate from breast cancer actually drop by over 40 per cent in the last 25 years,” Palmaro said. “Phenomenal improvements are being made thanks to the great research going on in this country and around the world.”
Ginty also values the research being conducted. If it weren’t for research, she never would have known she’s a carrier of BRCA 1, a gene that increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Her family, if they inherit this gene, will pursue more preventative care. She is now more passionate than ever about making breast cancer a treatable disease.
“The impact on my family was enormous…they all had a 50/50 chance of having it too,” Ginty said. “It was really quite an emotional disaster, rather a tsunami…it knocked us sideways.”
The run brought out people of all ages with all different relationships to the disease. For Palmaro, that’s one of the best parts of the event.
“Look around and you’ll see there’s people who are here remembering people that they’ve lost. There’s people here who are celebrating milestones in their breast cancer journey. There are people who are running 5ks for the first time ever…it’s a really fantastic way to bring the community together,” Palmaro said.
Ginty, along with her support system, is one of the many running for a cure, and for the future of others.
“They were cheering me on, they were praying for me. They never gave up on me,” Ginty said. “I didn’t know that I could come back, but they knew I would.”