Firefighter Jake White was suited up in full gear for his first year participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure in Simcoe.
“We are going to try running,” White said, noting “the bunker gear can be a little warm, so we’ll see.”
Some of his Norfolk fire department colleagues have taken part for many years, including firefighter Dave Braun, attending with his wife Rachelle, four-year-old daughter Harper, and 18-month-old twins Wyatt and Kylie.
“My mom passed away from breast cancer in 1994,” Braun said. “Cancer touches so many people, so we do whatever we can to help.”
Participants gathered in the gymnasium at Simcoe Composite School for a warm-up session and opening ceremonies, many wearing team T-shirts or more colourful attire.
The Women of Steel, a group of steelworkers from Stelco’s Nanticoke plant, returned for a fourth year in the run, decked out in pink fairy wings, feather boas and tutus.
“We all have family members, union sisters and brothers’ wives affected,” shared Donna Wingrove of Simcoe. “Some have lost the fight, so we run in memory and support.”
Carol Mummery and Gail Catherwood are co-directors of the run, now in its 20th year in Simcoe, that attracted about 500 participants on Sunday morning.
Mummery took to the stage to remind people that while they may be participating for different reasons, everyone shares “the continued collective hope that in our lifetime, there will no longer be a need for a Run for the Cure.”
Mummery shared some of the things she learned in her breast cancer journey that began with a diagnosis in 2009.
“I have learned that mammograms are uncomfortable, a breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying, surgery is life and body-altering, and the treatments are gruelling,” Mummery reflected. “It leaves one forever changed.”
She described the benefits of joining a support group, making new friendships with people on the same path in life, and how having honest, heartfelt conversations with family and friends can lead to better support.
Mummery also urged the crowd to never become complacent about their health, and pay attention to their bodies.
“I have learned to make an effort to really tend to the bucket list,” she said. “Time can be very cruel and rob us of opportunities for long-put-off dreams. Just do it!”