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Decrease in registered participants for P.E.I. Run for the Cure doesn’t mean decrease in importance

Jayna Stokes, left, and Noreen Murphy stand behind the front desk of the Canadian Cancer Society in Charlottetown on Monday, Sept. 30.
Jayna Stokes, left, and Noreen Murphy stand behind the front desk of the Canadian Cancer Society in Charlottetown on Monday, Sept. 30. - Michael Robar

Noreen Murphy knows how important the CIBC Run for the Cure is.

Having received a diagnosis of stage 3 invasive breast cancer in 2001, she was treated and went into remission. Eleven years later, she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. Then on Aug. 7, 2016, she found out her breast cancer had metastasized or spread. 

Just last week, the P.E.I. resident, who is also on the committee for this year’s run, got an important phone call that could potentially change many lives. The provincial government had approved the coverage of a drug she had been taking for three years in lieu of IV chemotherapy. Back in 2001, that drug wasn’t even an option. 

The CIBC Run for the Cure, which is the largest single-day, volunteer-led event in Canada in support of the breast cancer cause, raises funds that go toward research to develop drugs like Murphy’s and to advocate for their coverage. 

Murphy believes awareness and education are powerful tools. She also attends support groups to share her experiences. 

“I think if I share it and I talk about it, it will be easier for other people to do the same.” 

For those same reasons, she will also be speaking on the day of the run in Charlottetown. 

“I believe we need to come together as a community, right now and raise our voice as one.” 

Fast facts

Anyone looking for support or information about a cancer diagnosis can check out the CCS website, or call Cancer Information Services toll-free Monday to Friday at 1-888-939-3333.

However, participation numbers for this Sunday's run have decreased from about 450 last year to 252 as of Monday, said Jayna Stokes, provincial lead for P.E.I. with the Canadian Cancer Society. 

“We don’t have an exact reason yet, but we’re working really hard to push and engage with the community to see if they can make it more aware to people that it’s happening.” 

To that end, the society has increased phone canvasing this year, said Stokes. 

“We want to get participation up, so if we find that after this year that numbers were low in P.E.I. we’ll do investigations into why and see what we can do better.”  

They have also changed the time from 2 p.m. to 10 a.m. to improve safety due to the traffic caused by Farm Day in the City. 

Aside from participating on Sunday, Murphy has been making decisions to improve the event and to ensure funding for metastatic breast cancer. 

All donations her team (Metastatic Breast Cancer – PEI) receives will go toward that cause. 

Those interested in participating can register online at or at the run on Sunday, Oct. 6. Those wishing to donate can make a general donation on the website or search Murphy’s name to donate specifically to the metastatic breast cancer cause. 

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