The third annual Step-Up For The Cure fundraiser took place in Montreal this past weekend at McGill’s Percival Molson stadium. The event was put together to raise money and awareness for cancer research by having participants collectively climb an estimated 2.2 million stairs over a 24-hour period.
Event organizer and founder Dan Fischer explains his motivations for creating the event: “We wanted to create a charity which ensures that 100% of funds collected actually go to cancer research. The stairs represent the symbolic challenge that people with cancer face.”
According to Fischer, organizers wanted to target a younger demographic to promote cancer awareness among younger generations. “The event was created and organized by students. The money all goes to the Cancer Research Society which predominantly does its research in Canadian universities, so the money comes full-circle.”
The opening ceremonies on Saturday included a speech by Justin Trudeau. Offering words of encouragement, he told the participants: “The world is filled with so many big problems. Individuals often feel that we don’t have any power. the only way to tackle [these problems] is to take them one step at a time,” he said. “Cancer is something that touches everyone; most of us here today will have someone in our mind as we run; people that we’ve lost, families impacted by cancer, all of us share that. Today you get to step-up to change the world, you get to step-up to find a cure.”
Hundreds of participants enthusiastically embarked on their 24-hour mission marching to a background of boisterous music and encouraging cheers.
According to walker Laura Mislan, finishing the event was a relief but was also accompanied by a sense of fulfillment. “We accomplished something today; we raised awareness, money and we had fun. We challenged ourselves for this tough event and everyone was really supportive.”
However, Mislan also alluded to the physical toll of the 24-hour climb: “The stairs are much harder than a regular marathon. I’m going to go lie in a bathtub of ice.”
Also feeling the effects of the walk was Nicholas Anderson: “I’m exhausted, but it was a great experience. I plan on doing it again next year.”
The Montreal stair-climbing event was held simultaneously in Vancouver, and is planned to happen in Waterloo and Ottawa planned for the near future.
According to Fischer, the financial goal of this year’s Step-Up For The Cure fundraiser was $60,000. Sunday evening, organizers said they had so far counted $52,000 and expected to surpass their goal once all donations were tallied.
“I’m so happy with how this year’s event turned out” said Fischer. “It was a beautiful day and everything went as planned. We can’t thank our supporters enough and hope to see everyone back again next year.”
Statistics compiled by Step Up the Cure state that in 2007, an estimated 11 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with cancer and of those, approximately 7 million cases will be fatal.
For more information regarding the annual Step-Up For The Cure event or to make a donation, individuals can visit their website at www.stepupforthecure.com, or call 514.861.9227.