Candles to light walkers’ journey
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.
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.