Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Getting dirty for a clean cause

Mudder-Mud Hero event a CancerCare fundraiser

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Call them lucky, call them crazy. Definitely call them dirty.

Some 2,400 adults signed up for an anti-cancer fundraiser this weekend that will let them roll in the mud for fun and test their endurance. Think of trying to swim through pea soup to get the feel of this race course.

The Mudder-Mud Hero event, sponsored by CancerCare Manitoba in partnership with Crazy Canuck Entertainment, is the first of its kind in Manitoba.

"It has been a very successful fundraising event in cities across Canada and we're confident it can do the same in Manitoba," CancerCare Manitoba special events manager Kate Gameiro said in a statement Tuesday.

In other cities, pledges from mudders in similar contests have raised $20,000 to $30,000 per event, organizers here said.

The event takes place Saturday at the Grand Beach Entertainment Centre.

The course is no cakewalk. Mudders are expected to perform the kinds of physical tests that bring to mind boot camp for soldiers.

They'll swing on ropes over mud, crawl through mud, climb walls and mud-slick ramps, dive through tunnels, cross nets and use tires to move through a six-kilometre course of mud to the finish line.

For couples such as Shanna Kolteski and her husband, Mick, signing up satisfied a burning desire to help.

"Mick heard about Mud Hero a few weeks ago and when we realized we could have fun and raise money for Manitobans and families living with cancer, we signed up right away," Kolteski said.

"Our friends lost their son to cancer a few days before his third birthday and that really struck home to us. It broke our hearts and we want to help in any way we can," she said.

As of Tuesday, a Facebook page dedicated to the event showed the couple had raised $560 in pledges.

For cancer survivor Lisa Babey, rolling around in the mud will be a "hoot," but it's also deadly serious business.

Cancer tests for survivors are called "clean" when they're cancer-free, so she's using a play on words to raise pledges as a mudder on Saturday.

"The tag line I'm using on Facebook is 'My friends and I are getting 'dirty' so test results for cancer detection may all one day be 'clean.' "

So far, the 44-year-old Winnipeg woman has raised $2,000 in pledges for taking part in the event.

Babey has beaten breast cancer twice and says being cancer-free for two years means she has a lot to be grateful for. She says the quality of health care she received is at the top of her list.

"The greatest part of this is the visibility it will bring to the charity," Babey said.

The endurance factor is part of the attraction.

"My trainer asked me to do two physical challenges outside my regular workout to test my endurance, so that's why I signed up. Then I found out it was a fundraiser for CancerCare," Babey said.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 25, 2013 A7

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