Can­dles to light walk­ers’ jour­ney

Northumberland Today - - FRONT PAGE - CE­CILIA NASMITH

NORTHUMBERLAND — A long-time Can­cer So­ci­ety sup­porter from Port Hope and a busy mother and busi­ness­woman from Cobourg are this year’s hon­ourees for the 19th an­nual Can­dle­light Walk for breast-can­cer re­search on Sept. 22.

Danielle Kennedy, who has been in­volved with the event from the start, re­called that it be­gan in 1999 in Port Hope. It al­ter­nated each year be­tween Cobourg and Port Hope, and each year it is held in hon­our (or in mem­ory) of a breast-can­cer sur­vivor. Kennedy’s mother Liz Moore was one of the early hon­ourees.

“The Can­dle­light Walk is a cel­e­bra­tion of sur­vival, a trib­ute to the lives of loved ones, a walk of friend­ship and friends, with a goal to one day end breast can­cer,” Kennedy said.

Thanks to the work of a won­der­ful bunch of Cobourg and Port Hope vol­un­teers, she added, the event has raised more than $174,000 for the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety and its breast­cancer re­search.

When par­tic­i­pants gather in Port Hope this year, there will be quite a con­tin­gent in sup­port of Cobourg res­i­dent Erin Hath­way — her hus­band, her three chil­dren, plus her par­ents and brother from Port Hope.

A busy mother who runs a home busi­ness with her hus­band, Hath­way had a biopsy last Sept. 26 — her birth­day — and got a con­firmed di­ag­no­sis four days later.

Break­ing the news to the chil­dren brought more chal­lenges than it might have to an­other fam­ily, she said. Her 12-year-old son is also a can­cer sur­vivor.

“Our fam­ily has been through three and a half years of treat­ment for him,” Hath­way re­called.

Telling his older brother and sis­ter that, af­ter mak­ing it through with their brother, and the af­ter­ef­fects of his chemo­ther­apy, the fam­ily has an­other can­cer chal­lenge with their mom was a hard task.

One year later, her son is gen­er­ally healthy and Hath­way is wind­ing up her own ra­di­a­tion treat­ment (with re­con­struc­tive surgery yet to come). But it’s also a time for tak­ing back her life.

Hath­way was flat­tered when a for­mer hon­ouree rec­om­mended her for this dis­tinc­tion.

“I guess be­cause I am an ac­tive per­son, and I tried to re­main ac­tive dur­ing my treat­ment — I con­tin­ued swim­ming with my coach and rid­ing my bike with lo­cal cy­clists,” she said.

“It was im­por­tant for me to show peo­ple that can­cer wasn’t go­ing to take away who I am, or the things I en­joy that make me me.

“I hope, by be­ing an hon­ouree, I can get the mes­sage out that it doesn’t have to com­pletely take away the things that make you who you are,” she said.

Port Hope hon­ouree Edith Carr is not one for whom be­ing sin­gled out for an hon­our comes eas­ily. In fact, she’s more apt to want to share the credit for the many things she does — like the years she co-or­di­nated the door-to-door can­vass­ing for the Can­cer So­ci­ety.

“There’s al­ways some­body to lend a hand, but cer­tainly not do­ing it all,” she said.

Carr’s own can­cer jour­ney be­gan at an age when many women are per­haps look­ing at re­tire­ment or oth­er­wise sim­pli­fy­ing their lives. She was 61 years old at the time. Now she can al­most mark the 25-year point since that time.

Carr has been very for­tu­nate through the course of her breast can­cer, with no ra­di­a­tion or chemo­ther­apy, but she was al­ways there for oth­ers who ex­pe­ri­enced a more dif­fi­cult time.

One way she reached out was dur­ing many happy sea­sons on the Breast Can­cer Sur­vivor Thrivers dragon boat team — of which she was a char­ter mem­ber. Carr re­tired from the team three years ago at the age of 82.

She has also served on the Can­dle­light Walk com­mit­tee in the past with her good friend Betty Wakely. Wakely was the Port Hope hon­ouree last year, and Carr is pleased that she can once again be in such good com­pany.

“She is amaz­ing, what she has been through,” she said of her friend.

Pledge sheets for this year’s walk are now avail­able at the Cobourg Pub­lic Li­brary, Northumberland Hills Hos­pi­tal chemo­ther­apy unit, York Su­per Phar­macy, the Cobourg YMCA, and in Port Hope at Ken­neth Bell Fashion Ac­ces­sories and Hep­burn Jewel­ers.

The Sept. 22 walk will be­gin with a 6 p.m. reg­is­tra­tion at Port Hope United Church (34 South St.) — it’s $10 per per­son, and it’s waived for any­one bring­ing in $25 or more in pledges).

The walk­ers set off on the 2K course at 7 p.m., with bag­pipes in the lead, and ev­ery­one is wel­come to stay af­ter­wards for re­fresh­ments and draws.

CE­CILIA NASMITH/NORTHUMBERLAND TO­DAY

Edith Carr (right) is this year's Port Hope hon­ouree at the 19th an­nual Can­dle­light Walk for breast-can­cer re­search on Sept. 22. She is seen with her good friend Betty Wakely, last year's hon­ouree.

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