Corrine's Team largest at Run for the Cure
BRACEBRIDGE - The buzz of anticipation rivaled Christmas Eve as Corrine’s Team gathered outside Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge for the CIBC Run for The Cure on Sept. 30.
Corrine Gehrels was emotionally touched by the show of support from friends and colleagues.
For weeks, the Parry Sound contingent of 54 members had secretively planned and fundraised to surprise the team’s namesake, Corrine Gehrels, who volunteers annually in the Run for the Cure Survivors’ Tent.
“Initially, the goal for me was to have a team that would encourage Corrine and surprise her,” said Debbie Allison, Captain of Corrine’s Team and a member of the Bracebridge CIBC Run for the Cure committee.
When the group grew beyond her expectations, becoming the largest team in Muskoka was added to the list of goals they achieved.
“I didn’t have any monetary goals, it really was more of an encouragement to Corrine, for her to know that there are still a lot of people thinking of her and praying for her and that for most of us, we feel helpless,” said Allison, whose husband, Greg is a cancer survivor. “And think it’s the people that support the people that are battling the disease, that really don’t know what to do with themselves.
So when the idea of Corrine’s Team came up, Allison said it seemed finally like an opportunity for everyone to do something and it really resonated with her community,
“I think it became a real rallying cry, that we want Corrine to know that we love her and we support her and that we’re always going to be there, no matter if she’s six months into the journey or two years into the journey,” Allison added. “Whatever it looks like, we’re going to be there.”
Act of love
After almost a year since the diagnosis of her stage four recurrence, Gehrels was grateful for the team’s act of love.
“Life is busy - people have a lot of different concerns that they juggle,” she said. “So it wouldn’t be surprising if support would slowly dwindle as time went on. But instead, this joyful, huge crowd was an amazing reminder of how many people are committed to supporting me for the long run.”
Wearing a pink cowboy hat, tears welling in her eyes, she remembers it being almost surreal seeing all those people from different parts of her life, church, community and professional circles, all gathered together.
“And I know there were many more that would have been there if they could,” she added.
What Corrine’s Team may have lacked in creative pink fashion-sense, they made up for in fund-raising, collecting a whopping $6,250 – at last count – for the Breast Cancer Foundation. So far, the tally for the Bracebridge Run is at $95,000.
“For a run site of our size that is a significant fundraising effort,” Allison said. “We are comparable to larger sites as far as funds raised.”
The great thing about run day is that the breast cancer survivors and the people currently battling breast cancer don’t feel alone, Allison explained.
“There’s an affinity and a community in that place where everybody is coming together because either they know someone who has had breast cancer or they’ve lost a friend or family member to breast cancer,” she said, describing the Run Day demographics ranging from children to elderly to husbands and brothers.
“There seems to be a real community spirit when they come together.”
The CIBC Run for the Cure is Canada’s largest, single-day, community-driven fundraising event in support of the breast cancer cause. It raises awareness and research dollars for breast cancer. Across Canada, over $30 million was raised with 170,000 participants in 60 communities.
“Women diagnosed with breast cancer are living longer and with a better quality of life, thanks to tremendous research advancements made possible by our communities’ contributions,” said Sandra Palmaro, CEO of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region. “But with one in nine Canadian women being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, there is still so much to learn.”