There were dogs wearing pink bandanas, strollers decorated with pink streamers, men donning pink braziers, and women, lots of women, gathered to show their support. My daughter and I were just two in the sea of many but we were all there to make a difference in the future of women (and girls), walking, running, skipping, and stroller pushing in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure.
When my daughter and I agreed to participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure, months ago, we planned to run the whole 5K. We were so serious we even started training. Now the event was here. I was amazed, and heartened, to see such a variety of women participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure. There were grandmothers and college students, there were seasoned runners and those who seemed new to sneakers. And it wasn’t just women. Young kids, like my daughter, were running, and men, both young and old, were also out showing support, taking to the road.
It was inspiring to read the messages on the Wall of Hope. We added our own wishes, for our friends, for the women of the future.
It was with mixed feelings that I showed my daughter the long line of women at the Survivors tent. It is sad to see that so many women at the event fall into this category but these women were still here, still strong, and that is amazing.
The size of the overall crowd became obvious when we lined up to start our run. After running almost 3k, participants, of whom there were over 18,000 in Toronto, were still passing through the start gate. It wasn’t just residents of Toronto out showing their support; over 62,000 people participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure throughout Ontario and 170,000 throughout Canada. Those are amazing crowds and I am thankful to count my daughter and myself among their numbers.
Although my daughter and I set out to run the entire 5K, we were worried about not being able to complete our task. Our plan was to run 17 minutes and walk 1 minute throughout the entire CIBC Run for the Cure. Although some participants ran the whole way, there were many who did a run/walk combination like us, and even more who walked the whole thing. No one was ever made to feel bad or inadequate. Instead, folks on the streets were there offering support, cheering participants along, even offering high-fives. Whenever my daughter felt she couldn’t take another step, a cheer from the sidelines kept her going. I can only imagine this had the same affect on other participants.
We wore our tutus, bearing the names of women and girls who are important in our lives, those who have supported us. Our winged shoes kept us on our feet and the many comments we received during our run kept us going.
My daughter and I ran across the finish line, holding hands, proud that we did the CIBC Run for the Cure together, elated that we contributed, even a little bit, toward a future without breast cancer.
We celebrated with a pink pancake breakfast and a little face painting, and marveled at those around us, offering their support in anyway they could: runners, walkers, cheering squad, volunteers.
We made a difference, you made a difference, we all made a difference by raising over $4 million within Toronto and $13 million within Ontario, all contributing to over $30 million across Canada.
My daughter is already talking about participating in next year’s CIBC Run for the Cure and if we can do it, you can too. Run on your own or walk with your family, we hope to see an even bigger crowd next year.
This post has been sponsored by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.