‘We can make this a thing of the past’: Cancer survivor is running for the cure in Kelowna

Cancer survivors, friends and family, run for the cure at City Park in Kelowna.

In 2012, Laura Day found a small lump in her breast.

Thanks to a friend encouraging her to seek medical attention, Day was diagnosed early enough to get the treatment needed to be cancer-free today.

“The doctor was surprised I’d even found it because it was very small,” Day said. “So I can’t say enough about self-examination and the importance of it. I was really lucky it was detected so early.”

Day is joining about 650 others at the annual CIBC Run for the Cure at City Park in Kelowna.

The event is the only such run in the Okanagan, and organizers have set forth a goal of raising about $120,000 toward cancer research as well as local programs and services for cancer patients.

READ MORE: We need to talk about dense breasts: Why governments are taking notice

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Deina Albrecht has been volunteering as the Kelowna run director for five years. She does this in honour of her friend who passed away from a brain tumor.

“Most of it goes into research. We spent about $390 million over the last 20 years in research so the Canadian Cancer Society gives grants to promising research programs,” Albrecht said. “Then we also support local programs like the cancer lodge that we have in Kelowna. There are drivers that drive you to your treatment and back. There are online services and phone services.”

Albrecht says the Kelowna run has been around for over two decades.

This year, a new feature of the event is a fashion show, where cancer survivors are encouraged to strut their stuff.

READ MORE: B.C. women will be first in Canada to get breast density information after mammograms

Kelowna is not the only community to run for the cure. More than 85,000 participants in over 56 locations will be participating in the run.

Canada-wide, the event raises over $17 million annually. With nearly one in two Canadians diagnosed with the disease, a cure is more important than ever.

Cancer research has seen a great deal of progress. The Canadian Cancer Society says the five-year cancer survival rate has increased from 25 per cent in the 1940s to 60 per cent today.

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Breast cancer in particular is an area with increasing survival rates. In Canada, on average, about 87 per cent of women diagnosed will survive for a least five years.

To get involved with the CIBC Run for the Cure or make a donation, please visit the Kelowna Run website.