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CIBC Run for the Cure raises over $54,000 locally

When we run, we run for all. We're going to make a difference in the future of all the young people here.

Running and walking, hundreds of people gathered at the North Bay waterfront Sunday, taking steps to create a world where a cure exists for any woman or man handed a breast cancer diagnosis.

Over 200 people attended North Bay’s CIBC Run for the Cure, one of 52 Canadian cities to hold the annual event, the 19th held in North Bay.

“We’re the largest single-day, volunteer-led fundraising event for breast cancer. It’s a hopeful event,” shared Melanie Gainforth volunteer logistics coordinator.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during which time people wear pink to honour survivors and remember those who have lost their battle against the disease.

Looking out over the crowd of women, men, and children, all you could see was a sea of pink.

The crowd heard that “approximately one in eight Canadian women will develop breast cancer throughout their lifetime.”

And that “In 2022, roughly 30-thousand Canadians were diagnosed with breast cancer and of that number, it is estimated that 55-hundred will die from this disease.”

While breast cancer is a scary diagnosis, numbers reflect a "49 per cent decrease in breast cancer mortality rates since the mid-80s’."

The day’s message was one of hope.

“We are resilient. We’ve proven that year after year. We really are here to support, to hold up the families of our loved ones and to get them to the other side where there are sunnier days,” said Gainforth.

The goal is to help fund groundbreaking cancer research for a disease that affects not only the patient but family and friends as well.

“This is why we run. This is why we come together as a community, to show our support and commitment toward eradicating a disease that affects so many people,” stated CIBC general manager, Alfredo Ricciuti.

“When we run, we run for all,” Ricciuti told the crowd.

Every year a testimonial is given by someone who has received a breast cancer diagnosis.

This year’s guest speaker was Paige Lockton.

It was four years ago on September 30  2019, when Lockton began her journey, she was 49 years old.

She explained that her story is one of hope.

“So other people can look towards my story and know that anything is possible. My own journey wasn’t just breast cancer, it was a poop storm of epic proportions,” laughed Lockton.

“I had to wait five days between Houston we have a problem, and is the problem benign or is something going on here? So that was a long and interesting week.”

When the results came back, she learned she did not have a benign condition.  

“It needed to come out and then there are a series of other decisions you have to make about one breast or two? Re-construction, not reconstruction,?” Lockton reflected.  

She now calls herself a “mastectomy survivor.”

“I think it was really fitting that on October 31st on Halloween day, I woke up from a double mastectomy with Frankenstein-like scars across my chest, that I won’t cover or wear any prosthetic under for a variety of reasons. They are a badge of honour. It doesn’t define who you are.”

Lockton credits her childhood friend Tana to get her through a difficult time when her life was “going sideways.”

“She got me through the diagnosis and the mindset shift that I needed to thrive.”

Speaking her own truth, Lockton says the secret for her was recognizing that gratitude is key.

“When you have cancer, especially on the heels of divorce, bankruptcy, alienation from my family, all kinds of things, Tana looked me in the eye and said, ‘You’ve got to find something to be grateful for.’”

Lockton couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“I looked at her and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ and she double dogged dared me.

“She told me to find at least one thing, ideally morning and night to be grateful for, to bookend my day. Had she not seen my life?”

It was while driving down the road, “crying her eyes out,” that what Tana had said finally got through to Lockton, and she challenged herself.  

“It was a personal situation I was in that was falling apart and I found out how I could thank that person because this wouldn’t have happened, and then that wouldn’t have happened. I could thank the worst thing in my life and then I found out how to thank cancer,” shared Lockton.

“I was like ‘Tana, I get it.’ I felt totally different, and it empowered me. I wasn’t the victim anymore. So, another friend challenged me, asking me what I was learning from cancer. Once I found the things to thank, it held no power over me anymore. Some of those things were; that I wouldn’t have changed my life without cancer. I would have stayed on the same self-destructive path. I would have bought into all the B.S. that I was conditioned to believe as a young woman of my age, and I would have people-pleased my way straight to the grave. I sometimes fall into that rut, old habits die hard, but I get back out again because cancer gave me the permission slip to dream with the lid off. You get to go ‘I’m starting my life over, and I’m going to live a healthy life.’ You can access whatever it is you think you need to get healthy and change your life and empower yourself.”  

Lockton describes the new and improved version of herself.  

“I’m free. I was shackled, I couldn’t use my voice, I was a people pleaser.”

Each and every cancer survivor deals with the diagnosis in their own way, but Lockton stressed the importance of having hope.

And that is what research dollars can do, provide a sense of hope.

Once again this year, awards were handed out in a number of categories to individuals and groups who have made a difference.  

One such group that was celebrated was the Warriors of Hope Dragon Boat team, comprised of breast cancer survivors.

“They’ve been a top women’s fundraising team year after year,” said Gainforth.  

This year’s event raised over $54,000 to help fund cancer research.

Gainforth says although the amount raised isn’t a record, it is a post-COVID high and is expected to continue to grow over the coming weeks.      

“North Bay Limousine is offering 10 per cent of all his October sales, the emergency services challenge is ongoing, so there are six emergency services teams competing against one another. The winners get to paint the nails of the losing teams, so shocking pink manicures for them. So that’s fantastic,” grinned Gainforth.

“As well Ohana Wellness in Callander will be donating through the month of October.”      

People are invited to add to the total by donating online at or by going into a local CIBC branch to make a donation.

“We’re here to celebrate both the ones we love and the ones we’ve lost. We’re going to make a difference in the future of all the young people here,” stated Gainforth.