Katarzyna Koodoo, Royalwood resident and mother of three, once worked on the front lines of healthcare as a nurse. Today she remains on the front lines, as a participant in her second CancerCare Foundation Challenge for Life walk this June 7.
"I remember the horrible feeling, almost a decade ago, as my 31-year-old girlfriend told me she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. The overwhelming sadness in my grandmother’s voice over the phone from Poland telling me my wonderful grandfather had passed away," Koodoo says. "They were the inspiration for my first Challenge for Life. I felt such frustration and anger, I had to do something.
"All these feelings resurfaced in the last two months as both my auntie and another girlfriend were diagnosed within a week of each other," Koodoo continues. "Cancer in all its nasty forms has hurt my family and families of those I care about too many times".
The CancerCare Challenge for Life is a 20-kilometre walk starting and ending at Assiniboine Park.
The event was created by the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation to help Manitobans reduce their risk of cancer and increase awareness for all cancers, while raising significant funds to support CancerCare Manitoba’s work on behalf of Manitobans and their families living with cancer.
Participants commit to raising $1,000 prior to the walk. Koodoo has already exceeded that mark. Her training includes hot yoga, pilates, and long walks in the Bois-des-Esprits with her youngest child.
"My hope is to attract attention to the Challenge, to battling cancer," Koodoo affirms. "I’ll probably be crying all day June 7. It’s the hope that will keep me going. I’m living the story of two women fighting cancer. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through it."
To take part in the Challenge for Life, or to support a participant, call 204-927-LIFE (5433), or visit www.challengeforlife.ca
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The new Bois-des-Esprits Park on Shorehill Drive, funded by the Manitoba government, is slated to open later this summer.
Health minister Erin Selby, MLA for Southdale, which includes Royalwood, acknowledged the support of area residents in choosing the location.
"During the last election, so many Royalwood parents shared that, in order to access a community park with their children, they had to drive. An online survey showed overwhelming support for this site. I look forward to seeing families staying active and enjoying this new park".
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The annual Royalwood community Garage Sale is Saturday, May 31.
Signal your participation by leaving your garage door open.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to donate the proceeds from your garage sale to charity. I will feature your story in my June column!
Tanya Misseghers is a community correspondent for Royalwood.