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October 27, 2017 11:12 pm

Climb for Cancer Expected to Top $25,000

Sunday, April 24, 2016 @ 6:59 AM
Cougars begin their ascent of the cutbanks at Saturday's Climb for Cancer. Photos 250News

Cougars begin their ascent of the cutbanks at Saturday’s Climb for Cancer. Photos 250News

Prince George, B.C. – It wasn’t purple rain but it definitely was raining leading up to the first-ever Climb for Cancer at the cutbanks, an event organized by the folks at Northern Lights Estate Winery and the Canadian Cancer Society to benefit the Kordyban Lodge.

However, a little precipitation will never dampen the enthusiasm of the people of Prince George and that was displayed wholeheartedly by the more than 200 participants who climbed the 45-degree, 110 metre incline from the starting point on PG Pulpmill Road up to the top of the northern bank overlooking the Nechako River.

Winery Development Partner Pat Bell told those gathered at the opening ceremony that the rainy weather would actually be a benefit.  “I just went over to the hill,” he said, “and it is like walking up a staircase today so it couldn’t be an easier climb and I’m sure we’re all set to do personal bests.”  Bell noted the event is a partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society “and they have done an absolutely fantastic job pulling out volunteers for us, supporting the event and   utilizing all of their infrastructure.”

Society event lead Jana Peters thanked all of the people who turned out.  “Without all of your support we wouldn’t be doing this for the Kordyban Lodge.  It’s a safe place, a nice place and it’s a fantastic environment when you’re on your cancer journey.”

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty stressed that “the fight against cancer is so important.  One in four Canadians will die of cancer and the fact that we have such a great facility like the Kordyban Lodge, where comfort, care and family is there when we need it the most, when we’re going through that journey, is so important.”  He added “I can’t believe the turnout, I know that there are more and more people coming despite the weather.  This is true northern spirit right here.”

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said “if there was a word we wish was not in our vocabulary, it would be the word cancer.  You think about what happens when a family sits and hears that word in their lives.  It is devastating.”  Holding her emotions in check she related how “my little grandson just returned from a judo tournament.  He just came up to me and said “you know grandma, a little girl in my school, her sister is 5-years-old and she has cancer”.  It was everything I could do not to weep.”

Bond says “age is no barrier, it doesn’t matter where you live or who you are.”  She thanked the Bell family and the Canadian Cancer Society for partnering to put the Climb for Cancer on.  “It just gives so much.”

With that the participants walked from the winery orchard to the site and the climb was on, a drop-in event that ran from just after noon until 4 pm.  Organizing Committee chair Doug Bell says 300 people registered for the event with over 200 who climbed, some of them multiple times.

Bell says unofficially the event raised $25,000, with some donations still to be received.   A final total is expected within a few days.  The money raised comes from corporate sponsors, pledges and other fundraising activities conducted by the participants, proceeds of the City firefighters’ barbecue, contributions from some unions and other sources.

One of the participants who did the climb was 6-year-old Linden Shelford.  He was one of the top individualDSC_0138 fundraisers, bring in a whopping $616.90, including $186.90 that he made conducting a bottle drive.  The rest was raised through pledges he collected from family and friends.  MP Doherty (pictured right with Linden)  was so impressed with the youngster’s enormous effort that he asked the boy to join him at this year’s 24 hour Relay For Life at Masich Place stadium.

There were all sorts of stories at the first-ever Climb.  Those who took part included women, men, boys and girls, one lady who said her mom had just learned of a cancer diagnosis, others who spoke of losing a family member or a friend.

DSC_0055Some were there for private reasons and others, well they just took on the challenge of seeing how many times they would climb the hill.  Like the woman (left) who said “just call me Gabby” as she went up, then down, then up the slope and down repeatedly.  Asked how many times she was going to climb it she thought briefly and replied, “depends, till I get tired I guess.”

Mayor Lyn Hall took part in the climb and says “as with many people I’ve been personally touched by this and when we look at having this inaugural cutbank climb put on here and money going to Kordyban Lodge that’s a huge plus for the lodge, huge plus for people that are suffering with cancer.”

“I had a buddy of mine who stayed at the lodge and it meant the difference between getting services here in Prince George at the cancer clinic and having to go all the way to Vancouver.  So anytime you can have a fundraiser like this it benefits everybody, not just in Prince George but across the north.  So it’s so important for us to cheer this on, participate and I want to give a big shout out to Pat and Doug Bell for the work they’re doing here.  It’s a great idea and their co-ordination with the Cancer Society here in Prince George is phenomenal.”

Hall also harkened back to the Sandblast days in saying “remember when they used to ski down the cutbanks, used to ride mattresses down, sleds, it was amazing what they would use.  This is sort of bringing back that old era that we had 20-plus years ago and you know, maybe it’s the start of another era.  It’s a great way to fundraise dollars and the cutbanks are unique to Prince George so why not?”

Mayor Lyn Hall and climbing buddy Pat Bell pose on the descent.

Mayor Lyn Hall and climbing buddy Pat Bell pose on the descent.

Mayor Hall made the climb with Pat Bell who, master of the cutbanks that he is, lowered his personal best of 10:15 to 6:40.  He credits the heavy rain that fell Saturday morning with helping solidify the sand and basically providing steps to the top of the hill.  The mayor kept pace to about the three-quarter mark and then employed the switchback route that meanders up the slope.  Asked if he’ll be back as a climber next year Hall said “you bet I will, and I’ll be doing a little advance work to get ready for it.”

As a final note Doug Bell expressed his great appreciation to the more than 30 volunteers who gave their time to help with the event, over and above the crew that was directly working on it.


I love the enthusiasm! I love the turnout; and I love the photos!
OUTSTANDING JOB!!!! See you next year!!!

Great to see the start of a new cut bank tradition. Unique cut bank activities are a special part of Prince George’s character and history. On another note, the new event is a lot less stressful on the First Aid crew than picking up the pieces after a couch crash.

Kudos to the organizers, the participants and the sponsors.

Just for reference… this couch crash.

www .youtube.com/watch?v=9nGeLEyiUgc

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