Working together to outrun cancer
Terry Fox Run held in St. Paul
Leslie Bodnar knows more than most people about cancer – over 10 years, she’s had rounds of chemotherapy and radiation for cancer; her sister has battled three different types of cancer; and most of her dad’s side of the family has passed away from the disease.
Through it all, she’s volunteered for St. Paul’s Terry Fox Run, alongside the Town of St. Paul’s recreation department that organizes the event. It’s not a big commitment, with one day of work, to support a good cause, she notes, adding that one year she volunteered at the event with a bandanna over her head, bald from treatments for the disease.
“Once you’ve got cancer, you’ve had cancer,” she said, explaining why she comes out to support the event that raises funds for cancer research. “I’m not going down without a fight.”
This past Sunday, Bodnar saw one of the bigger turnouts there has been for the town’s event, with 71 participants of all ages registering to walk, bike or run the five kilometre route.
She and Lorraine Stybel, with the town’s recreation department, estimated that donations were set to match previous years’ records, with $2,687 donated on Sunday, and perennial top fundraiser Robert Pruneau’s donations still to come. Pruneau generally raises between $3,000 to $4,000 on his own, they note.
Participant Lori Novakowski noted last year’s turnout was very small in comparison, saying she was “discouraged” at the lack of involvement for a good cause. “Everybody seems to be having a battle with cancer,” she said. “The more money we raise, the better off we are.” This year, when her daughter Robyn suggested she could get her Glen Avon school students involved, her mom thought it was a great idea.
Robyn Novakowski, a physical education teacher at Glen Avon School, said she wanted “to bring out more kids” for the event. The run also encourages the kids to get outside and be active, she noted. In return, she promised a pizza party to the class that saw the most kids come out. Before the race, it looked like the class of 4W had cinched the pizza party, she said, an announcement that brought a whoop from the kids behind her.
Bodnar was pleased to see so many people come out, but notes that there will likely always be a need for fundraising, with several types of cancer to battle.
Though she was familiar with Canadian icon Terry Fox and his marathon of hope, she never thought she would experience cancer herself. But she notes that her father made it to 95 years before his first diagnosis with the disease while her older sister has had three types of cancer and is still alive to tell her story.
“If my sister can get through this, I can get through this,” Bodnar said.
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