On an achingly perfect, crisp Fall morning in early October, thousands of people joined together to walk, run and be present for the 2014 CIBC Run for the Cure. United, we raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research. Is there anyone who has not been touched by cancer herself or has not lost a family member, friend, colleague or neighbor to some form of cancer? That’s what I and I suspect many others were thinking as we stood in front of the Wall of Hope, scribbling our messages in pink marker, lest the deceased be forgotten.
“In loving memory,” I wrote to Catherine, Elka and Carol. The names of these three strong, remarkable women were stuck to my back as we began the 5 k run down University Avenue. And their faces were before my eyes as we ran past the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education on Bloor. Each of them would have walked in front of that building so many times on their way to the Royal Ontario Museum or to the subway station on St. George.
Our running and our writing cannot bring back any of those who have died from cancer. But the Run for the Cure is a chance to impose some meaning on these random and devastating losses. Nearing College Street, toward the end of the run, I felt the shallowness of my breath, the weakening of my knees. You can do this,” said my running buddy as she watched me slow down. “Don’t give up now.” I pushed on to the finish line, affirming hope with every stride forward.
- Gail Benick, author of The Girl Who Was Born That Way