Cancer survivors and supporters were out in full force for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure in Red Deer early Sunday morning.
April Lonsdale-Irvine and her family were determined to keep up the family tradition to participate in the event in remembrance of Linda Aitken, 63, of Red Deer, who died in March.
Aitken was a breast cancer survivor for 12 years, but developed leukemia from chemotherapy earlier this year.
“It’s our first year without her,” said Lonsdale-Irvine, Aitken’s daughter.
Being out to run was emotionally tough, “but encouraging,” she said.
At the 11th annual Red Deer run on Sunday, 820 walkers and runners in the five-km walk or run and one-km walk at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School raised $242,203 so far.
The 2010 run had 1,200 participants and raised $315,000, up from $189,000 in 2009.
Marlene Evans, a mammography technologist at Central Alberta Medical Imaging Services, came out with co-workers to support friends who have battled cancer as well as help raise public awareness about breast cancer and regular testing.
“I see it all the time at work, women who wished they would have come earlier. It just breaks my heart,” Evans said.
A lot of women put off getting mammograms because they don’t have a family history of breast cancer, she said.
“Seventy-five per cent of new breast cancer is in women with no family history. Our risk factor is just being a woman. Nobody is safe.”
2011 is a big year for Run for the Cure. It marks the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the 20th annual run in Canada. The first run was held in Toronto.
Bobbie Eccleston, 37, of Sylvan Lake was diagnosed five years ago with stage four breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy, 15 rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation.
She said it was a challenge and participates in the run to help make the journey easier for others by raising money for research and families that can’t afford medications.
“Seeing all these people here today reassures me that together we will survive,” Eccleston said.