Every year, the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation runs Challenge for Life, a fundraising/awareness event whereby walkers commit to raising $1,000 for CancerCare Manitoba while also taking an active role in maintaining their physical health, thus reducing their risk of getting cancer.
This year, Challenge for Life culminates on June 8 with a 20 kilometre walk, beginning and ending at Assiniboine Park.
Mark Evans is a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2008, he was cancer-free until March of 2011 when cancer showed up in his lungs. He’s now in remission but he’s still very involved in fighting cancer.
Evans helped to create the Challenge’s Kids Count team in 2010, inspired by young Noah Palansky. Palansky began taking part in the Challenge at age 12 after his mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. She subsequently lost her life in 2011.
Named 2012’s Oustanding Philanthropist by the Manitoba Chapter’s Association of Fundraising Professionals, Evans started matching Palansky’s donations and eventually, the entire Kids Count team. In 2012, Evans donated $50,000 in matching donations.
"It’s been nice to empower a young fellow like Noah to get going on that," Evans says, 50.
"My 16-year-old son (who’s also named Noah) started taking part three years ago because he wanted to get involved. I think he raised $30,000 last year."
"Also, the actual walk is a great event. You meet all the other people who are participating and you know every one of them is impacted by cancer in some way. It’s a very empowering day that way."
Noah Evans agrees with his dad about the empowering aspect of the Challenge.
"It’s a tiring walk but everyone is always so happy, even it’s raining or cold," Noah Evans says. "Just the look on people faces, no matter what, they’re always happy. It just makes you want to keep going and never stop."
Also, both father and son are committed to healthy living. Noah plays goal in hockey and is trying out for fullback on his school football team. Mark says he’s always tried to stay in good shape and while his good health might not have prevented cancer, it sure helped fight it.
"The treatment I took, if I wasn’t in good shape I wouldn’t have been a candidate for it," Evans says. "It’s very taxing and can cause heart attacks and stroke, so if you’re in a good state of health you have a much better chance."
For more information on Challenge for Life call 204-927-LIFE (5433) and visit www.challengeforlife.ca.