May 27, 2005 08:00 ET

Running, Walking & Rolling for Cancer PREVENTION - May 28 & 29, 2005

In conjunction with the National Capital Race Weekend Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 27, 2005) - Every Canadian has heard about runs for cancer cures. Terry Fox rightly became a national hero in 1980 with his courageous and inspiring Marathon of Hope, and annual Terry Fox events and a host of other cancer runs, relays and weekend walks have raised millions for cancer.

But cures are still elusive, and cancer rates continue to rise. There is a growing need to focus on cancer prevention - ways of stopping cancer before it starts. Well over 50 per cent of cancers can be prevented, say prominent international cancer experts like Dr. Anthony Miller of Toronto, and "this is a huge opportunity, especially considering the World Health Organization has stated over 80 per cent of all cancers are caused by modifiable factors," says Liz Armstrong, a long-time health and environment writer in Erin, Ontario.

This weekend, Ottawa is hosting an event dedicated to raising funds for cancer prevention. "Our aim is to raise funds to raise awareness for what Rachel Carson called 'the golden opportunity' to prevent cancer," Armstrong explains. "Back in 1962, in her classic Silent Spring, she predicted that cancer incidence would continue to rise unless we took action to stop polluting our air, water and soil with chemical pesticides and radiation. Then, cancer struck one in every four North Americans; now - over 40 years later - the rates have risen to one in three for Canadian women, and nearly one in two for Canadian men."

The 2005 Run, Walk & Roll for Cancer Prevention (RW&R) will take place on May 28th and 29th in Ottawa, and more than 135 people will be walking, running and rollerblading to raise money for prevention. The RW&R is "piggybacking" on Ottawa's 31st National Capital Race Weekend and features a variety of distances from 2K to full Marathons for runners, walkers, wheelchair athletes, rollerbladers and families. Among this year's participants will be cancer survivors and many running in memory of family members who died of cancer. They will be joined by representatives or whole teams from the Canadian Labour Congress, Ontario Federation of Labour and Canadian Auto Workers Local 222.

Last year, 50 participants raised $60,000 in the first RW&R for cancer prevention. In 2005, "We hope to double our efforts," says co-organizer, Loretta Michaud, Director, Information Services, Workers Health and Safety Centre.

"Of course, good personal habits, such as eating healthy foods, not smoking and getting plenty of exercise play an important role in cancer prevention," says Michaud. "But there are many other opportunities to reduce cancer hazards - in our homes, communities and workplaces. We need to focus on detoxifying our lives to prevent cancer, and we need our governments and health care agencies to play a stronger role in protecting our health."

The Women's Healthy Environments Network, a Toronto-based group that has focused on cancer prevention since its inception in 1995, is the official Run, Walk & Roll sponsor. Funds raised in the 2005 Run, Walk & Roll for Cancer Prevention will go toward publication of Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (New Society, 2006), to staging a national cancer prevention conference in late 2006, and to building an active cancer prevention coalition across Canada.

/For further information: Jim Mahon

Contact Information

  • Janet McNeill, Run, Walk & Roll Coordinator
    Primary Phone: 613-584-2101
    Toll-Free: 888-268-2097