UTM breaks records at CIBC Run for the Cure

Team UTM at Run for the Cure
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 4:47pm
Blake Eligh

Sunday’s Mississauga Run for the Cure was one for the record books as the University of Toronto Mississauga team hit a new fundraising high to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

More than 100 UTM students volunteered to staff the event, which brought about 4,000 people to campus to participate or cheer from the sidelines. Decked out in team shirts and pink accessories, Team UTM joined 2,700 registered participants to walk or run the 5 kilometre route together. The UTM team saw a big jump in participation over last year. Along with Deep Saini, Vice-President of U of T and Principal of U of T Mississauga, 149 staff, students and faculty members joined the event, tripling the team size from 2013.

This year’s efforts were organized by Debby Keown, Helen Filipe and Carol Solonenko. Keown says that the donations are still being tallied, however she anticipates the final total to be over $18,000, shattering this year’s fundraising goal of $8,000. For its efforts, Team UTM won the local “Post-Secondary Challenge Award,” and came second in Canada for the “Post-Secondary Top Institution Award,” edged out by Queen’s University, which raised $35,000.

The run/walk is the finale in a series of events that included the Pink Luncheon (which raised $1,600), and another $300 donated by psychology professor Will Huggon and brother Tim, who made good on their promise to shave their heads and beards if the Team UTM reached its fundraising goal. Principal Deep Saini provided further incentive, stepping out for the CN Tower EdgeWalk last month to raise awareness for the team.

Like many participants, Filipe and Keown participate to honour and support the family, friends and neighbours who have fought breast cancer. “Sadly, every year, the number of women I participate for grows,” says Filipe. “It’s an emotional day. You see the tears, but it’s our privilege to be there to support the survivors. They are here because of the advances in research, care and support.”

“This disease impacts everyone,” adds Keown. “It’s a great equalizer.”

The UTM community has a big heart, Keown says, adding that she’s proud of the effort from this year’s team and volunteers. “Helen, Carol and I felt honoured to be representing UTM alongside the wonderful students, the committed faculty and the supportive staff,” she says. “We came together as one to do something about this horrible disease. We have seen the best come out in people.” 

Keown and Filipe credit this year’s success to the foundations laid by previous team organizers, and to support from student leaders and departments across campus. Next year’s co-chairs, Ryan Cerrudo and Carla DeMarco, will continue to build on that momentum, and have their sights set on taking the top post-secondary fundraising prize  next fall.