Cutbanks Climbers Raise $25,000 for Kordyban Lodge
Prince George, B.C. – The second annual Climb for Cancer raged against the cutbanks Saturday and raised nearly $25,000 for the Kordyban Lodge in Prince George. The two-year total for the event is approximately $55,000.
The event brings together hundreds of individuals, each with their own vivid and extremely personal encounters with cancer, and unites them in a common cause, to wage war against the disease. In this case the war that is waged is through the lodge, which supports cancer patients in numerous ways as they receive treatment away from their homes.
And there were some highly emotional sentiments expressed in the ceremonies preceeding Saturday’s climb. Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty related that “last year our family lost two very close relatives and my brother just celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday, and I’m happy to say that he got his clean bill of health for a second round of cancer whose butt he has kicked just a couple of weeks ago.”
“This event and the 24-hour Relay mean so much. To all of you who are supporting and participating in this event, everybody that makes today happen, everybody that takes cancer seriously and does their part in fighting it I just want to say thank you.”
Doherty, who said he wasn’t going to climb the cutbanks this time but wound up climbing in his cowboy boots when Mayor Lyn Hall said “let’s go”, said he’ll again be doing the full 24-hours of the Relay For Life on May 13th at Masich Place and invited everyone to do a lap with him and relate their own story.
Mayor Lyn Hall said “it’s always interesting what you share on days like this and I really have not shared a lot about what this particular event means, or what the Relay For Life means because it’s difficult for my wife Lorrelle and I to talk about it.
But over the last three years we’ve lost three very close friends and that has an impact not only on their families but certainly on ours and the extending families that are connected to those people who are so sick and for those who, unfortunately, don’t survive.”
Hall said “it’s so difficult to talk about but it’s something that we have to recognize day in and day out and remember the struggles that they had and what we can do for people who are going through the same thing.”
But Hall says it’s not all bad news. His 34-year-old nephew from Kamloops, who was diagnosed with stage four melanoma, “is now, in his doctors’ words, cancer-free. He was on a test drug that proved to save his life, and we’re hoping this drug will help others.” “I think that sometimes we focus on the difficulties, the bad, but there’s a focus on the people who survive this. And this young man really has set an example for all of us, and how it has absolutely changed his life and quite frankly has changed our entire lives as a family. You never quite expect who is going to come into your life and change it and this young man certainly has done that for our family.”
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Helen Owen told the gathering “as you know the proceeds stay local, they all go to the Kordyban Lodge, which is very near and dear to our hearts. I just got the latest numbers yesterday and to date we have had 3,788 guests stay at Kordyban Lodge.”
“We have an army of over 30 volunteers who help out at the lodge on a regular basis and are there all day and most evenings and weekends. We couldn’t do it without our volunteers.” She said the lodge is a special place and the people that stay there are so appreciative.
Climb organizer Doug Bell had said earlier that he was expecting upwards of 200 climbers to take part. He says the final count came in at nearly 250 climbers, including a group of seven former co-workers of Dave Mah, the talented photographer who was well-liked throughout the community and, sadly, lost his battle with cancer last year. Those co-workers will be at the Relay For Life for Dave, too.
The Climb for Cancer is no easy feat. Some participants didn’t make it all the way to the top, but that’s okay because they gave it all.
One young guy who looked in pretty good shape was asked upon completing the descent, how was it? “Tough” was the descriptive response.
Bell says donations to the Climb for Cancer are still being accepted over the next couple of weeks. He says “I’m tremendously excited about the support the community has given us for this event and I’m really excited about where this event can continue to go. The fact we have more people climbing and the people who climbed last year were so excited to come back makes us think that we can continue to build on this and improve life for cancer patients in Prince George.”
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