Every year, the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation presents Challenge for Life, a fundraising/awareness event whereby participants commit to raising $1,000 for CancerCare Manitoba, while also taking an active role in their physical health, thus reducing their risk of getting cancer.
The sixth annual Challenge for Life culminates on June 8 with a 20 kilometre walk, beginning and ending at Assiniboine Park.
Lauren Alcock, captain of team Paterson GlobalFoods, has been taking the Challenge since Day 1. In addition to losing her father-in-law and stepfather-in-law to cancer, her late mother was an oncology nurse.
"She actually started the outpatient oncology clinic at the Vic," says Alcock, 39, a mother of three herself.
"When I was a kid, if I was sick I’d have to go to the Vic for the day, because she had to be there, and during the holidays I would go there and help file. It (cancer) was just something that I knew affected people, their families and their friends. Cancer’s always been in my life in some way or another."
Alcock says her mother instilled in her the importance of a healthy lifestyle, especially not smoking, and practicing safe sun exposure. Also, Alcock says her mom believed a positive outlook was a powerful cancer fighter.
"She said a huge part of beating the disease is your attitude and I think when people see something like Challenge for Life they are inspired. They feel like they can fight. I think that makes a huge difference in how someone recovers," Alcock says.
Alcock says the Challenge is inspiring for everyone involved, not just those battling cancer.
"We start off walking with our team, but everyone is at a different pace, so you end up beside someone you’ve never met before and you just start chatting," Alcock says.
"I love that. It’s sort of against human nature to talk to a stranger, but during the walk it just feels natural."
"Also, people come out of their houses as you walk by and kids have written messages on their sidewalk. People are clapping. They make you feel like you’re doing something heroic, meanwhile we’re just walking, it’s easy. I mean it’s a commitment of time and energy, but I’m healthy, it’s easy for me. It feels like it’s the least I can do."
For more information on Challenge for Life call 204-927-LIFE (5433) and visit www.challengeforlife.ca