EVery year, the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation presents Challenge for Life, a fundraising/awareness initiative whereby participants commit to raising $1,000 for CancerCare MB, while also pledging to practice a healthier lifestyle.
The sixth annual Challenge culminates on June 8 with a 20-kilometre walk, beginning and ending at Assiniboine Park.
This is Lorraine Marek’s second year taking the Challenge. She’s the captain of team 55+ Fit & Flex, which is also a cardio/yoga class she instructs.
"I’ve always been active," says Marek, 63, who understands that a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of cancer and, in the event that you do get the disease, helps you better fight it.
"I’ve always tried to do the right thing, walk, do weights and now I’m into yoga. I really love yoga and I’m teaching it as well. It’s really good for older adults, because we get tighter and stiffer."
In addition to her commitment to living healthy, Marek takes part in the Challenge because she’s lost loved ones to cancer. Both of her parents died of the disease and last August she lost her sister Helene to breast cancer.
"Helene had a four year struggle with it," Marek says. "We went through the radiation and the chemo and everything else. CancerCare was a big help. She was from Flin Flon and she would come into town, and CancerCare would arrange for the doctors and even the accommodations and transportation if she needed them. You name it, they were very helpful."
Fit & Flex held a fundraising yoga relay in April, and on May 11 the team will host a fundraising hot dog barbecue in the parking lot at Cavalier St. and Hamilton Ave. Marek says she’s looking forward to June 8, despite 20 kilometres not exactly being an easy stroll.
"It’s an inspirational day for all of us to realize how lucky we are," Marek says. "We all live in fear of that cancer diagnosis. It’s good to remember that if you’re healthy and you can walk, how lucky you are."
"I’m walking because she (Helene) can’t."
For more information on Challenge for Life call 204-927-LIFE (5433) and visit www.challengeforlife.ca