Sunday morning of Homecoming weekend included two opportunities for those from the Wilfrid Laurier University community to get outside and run for a better reason than to recover from the celebrations of the night before.
The 19th annual CIBC Run for the Cure in support of breast cancer research was held at Bingemans in Kitchener. Nearly 3,000 participated in the event, including a team of Laurier students from the School of Business and Economics Students’ Society (SBESS).
SBESS president Aneesh Lal was one of the Laurier students gathered around the starting line. “We started two years ago and it’s just a great tradition for us to get involved with.”
He continued, “It’s the least we could do for such a great cause, this year we were fortunate enough to have nine runners and we’re all really dedicated to it.”
Robb Farago, an SBESS executive, estimated that the SBESS team had raised around $2,000 before the event and there were also some donations contributed after the fact.
Farago was running for his grandmother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. “I know a lot of people that are concerned about it and so many people that have been affected by it,” he said. “A lot of friends have had to deal with it in their family.”
The cause of cancer research was more than enough to bring runners out in single-digit temperatures according to second-year Laurier student Clare Giannone, who was volunteering at the event. “I think every person here has directly been affected by cancer, either a family member or close friend,” she said. “Our enthusiasm is keeping us all warm.”
Farago described being amidst the pink-clothed crowd as one important element of the experience and what makes being involved so special. “People there were talking and starting to cry, on stage people hugging, it’s all overwhelming to be in that situation.”
At the same time as the Run for the Cure, Laurier hosted its third-annual Laurier Loop run through Waterloo Park. Proceeds of the event go to support Laurier’s Sun Life Financial Movement Disorders Research & Rehabilitation Centre (MDRC), a world-renowned centre for research on Parkinson’s disease and other motor ailments.
The event began after an alumnus approached the university’s alumni association wanting to organize an event as a means of giving back to the university. “Coincidentally we had been talking about implementing a run or some sort of active component into Homecoming,” alumni relations officer Teresa Smiley said.
“It’s predominantly people from the community and running community,” who participate, she explained. “We have a small contingent of students, the football team always participates, and there’s some faculty and staff participation as well along with a few alumni.” She added that there are a number of students who volunteer to co- ordinate the event including any injured football players who can’t participate.
The $3,000 in pledges raised by the 506 participants was matched by an alumnus to double the donation to the MDRC.
Erin Almeida, wife of the MDRC’s director Dr. Quincy Almeida, has participated every year of the event and earned the most pledges of any participant this year. She explained that the event is special for a number of reasons, not limited to the good the proceeds accomplish, the participants or those who gather for the run, including patients of the centre. “From so many perspectives it’s important,” she said.