The Weather was beautiful and there was a  wonderful sense of camaraderie, spirit, smiles and fun had by all. Scotiabank Charity Challenge, the Canada Running Series and all its sponsors and organizers put on an outstanding event and we thank them for giving charities an exciting challenge of bringing out teams to help raise awareness and funds for their organization!

CCAC actually completed its 5th Scotiabank Charity Challenge in Toronto this past weekend under glorious skies! More than 40  volunteers ran either in the Half or Full Marathon while others chose to walk (or “run”)  the 5 km route carrying the CCAC  banner and a colourful  hand painted Wendy’s Warriors sign. Our presence helped  raise additional  awareness about the  importance of getting screened  and demonstrated great support and encouragement to those directly or indirectly affected  by the disease. Team members wore  t-shirts (donated by CBM Corp) with the message Love Life ? Get Screened! And some chose to be artistic and added other messages of love and support as well.

Teams consisted of friends, family, colleagues, patients and survivors. Captains for The Freedom 55 Burlington and Hamilton Office Team  (Patrick Pitt, who also managed to solicit items to raffle to his team and their supporters), Sophie’s Run Team (Nicole Chuchmach) ,Wendy’s Warriors Team (Linda Wieler) and  Cheeky Butts Team (Gail Grief, CCAC  National Director of Development),  deserve extra kudos for keeping their group focussed on our fundraising target and also ensuring  their efforts were appreciated and they had fun throughout the experience !

An amazing close to $15,000 was raised thanks to everyone’s efforts and we thank the participants and each of their collective 278 supporters! We also thank Great West Life Insurance whom through their employee matching program, will donate the same amount raised by the Freedom 55  Financial Team.

Here’s just a bit of background on some of the amazing participants: Alexander Vuoung was our only full marathoner who successfully completed  his 5th event in memory of his mom who unfortunately, succumbed to the disease. Alexander , a pharmacist has already committed to running next year and we look forward to his participation and beating his personal best of 3:57!  Congrats to Alexander for also being our top individual fundraiser!!! We appreciate yours and everyone else’s efforts!

Both Manon Jobin (her second 21km run) and Grant Gunn  of AMGEN Canada (a leading CCAC sponsor – Grant being  the second leading fundraiser for this event) ran the half marathon along with Nicole Chuchmach. Please refer to the CCAC website to learn more about Nicole’s mom, Sophie and her courageous battle with colorectal cancer and the 870km Nicole and her team ran for 5 weeks straight (from Milton Ontario to NYC representing 870 km)  in an emotional journey in order to help raise awareness about the disease! Sherrill McConkey, a rectal cancer survivor brought out friends and family including Aunt Ruth (84 years young) along with her daughter and granddaughter ! Dedication and support for Sherrill along three generations was certainly a special addition and inspiration to the day!

Sherill continues to increase her involvement with the CCAC as a volunteer with The Giant Colon and by contributing proceeds from the sale of her EZ Straps.

The Freedom 55 Team have obviously been training hard for the 5 km since they were so quick  to start and finish! The CCAC is so  pleased to have the Burlington/Hamilton staff on board and excited about strengthening our partnership.

Wendy was the inspiration behind the team spearheaded by friend and colleague Linda Wieler of Credit Valley Hospital. Wendy is fighting her own battle as she is currently undergoing treatment for stage 4 colorectal cancer. That by no means stopped her and her friends and family from enjoying the day and helping others by raising awareness about the disease. Wendy even came equipped with beautiful hand made bags with home-baked cookies shaped as ribbons for everyone to enjoy!

We are pleased that Joseph was able to join us at the very last minute – Joseph and his daughter sponsor an Annual Garage Sale in memory of his wife who unfortunately lost her battle with colon cancer. The garage sale continues to grow each year  with the proceeds directed to the CCAC

If you are interested in participating in 2011 Scotiabank Charity Challenges, please communicate with Gail Grief who will ensure your laces are tied and ready to go by the Spring  –  Summer. Runs will take once again   in Montreal (April) , Halifax (May) , Calgary (June) , Vancouver 9June 26), and Toronto (September)!  Please contact gailg@colorectal-cancer if you would like  to volunteer in a leadership role by  recruiting a team or  helping us further  promote the event, or simply, if you would like us to keep you posted as to  when  the 2011 registration opens across the country.

All participants from either the Toronto or elsewhere  are encouraged to comment and share their story and experience … You are all truly inspirations to the CCAC  and  contribute in a meaningful way  to  the continued battle against colorectal cancer.

-Gail Grief,

CCAC Director of National Development

After the cut, preview the fun that awaits you at the 2011 events by perusing the pictures from the incredible Toronto event!