Daffodil Dash to use flower power to fight childhood cancer
Honouring a promise she made to her late granddaughter, Trail resident Lynn Gould lights a candle every Thursday for all the children who are living with cancer and for those who have passed on.
Lynn also continues the advocacy work started by Natasha Rose Gould, an incredible 12-year-old girl who lost her battle with an incurable brain tumour, DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) in 2016. In the last year of Natasha’s life, she became a North American spokesperson for children battling cancer and inspired everyone around her, including Lynn.
The local woman is spreading awareness and raising funds for pediatric cancer research at the second-annual Trail Daffodil Dash this coming Sunday under “Team NRG” (Natasha Rose Gould). Her work will be further on display to participants taking part in the 5/10 km run or walk as they follow alongside the Columbia River to the Sunningdale “Y” and see the “Children’s Garden of Hope,” blooming with daffodils planted this fall with help from Trail Community in Bloom. The garden is to honour and recognize children everywhere whose lives are affected by cancer.
“This project is important to me because of the hole in my heart since our loss,” says Lynn. “I am now aware of how many other families have lost their babies to cancer and it has to stop. We need a cure and for that we need to raise money for research and we must shout out loud and clear that childhood cancer is not rare!”
Encouraged by her granddaughter, Lynn connected with the Canadian Cancer Society office in Trail last year and was pleased that her Daffodil Dash team’s vision for raising money specifically for pediatric cancer research was supported. It didn’t take long for local schools to then get on board with fundraising events to help the Society raise additional funds for pediatric cancer research. This year, Lynn has re-entered her team and re-engaged local elementary schools – including St. Michael’s, Fruitvale Elementary, Webster, Glenmerry Elementary and Rossland Summit School – to once again organize their own miniature in-house dashes under Team NRG. Volunteers from J. L. Crowe Secondary School’s leadership class will support the main event this Sunday, and some students plan on participating in the Dash too.
“I like the theme of ‘kids helping kids,’” Lynn says. “It is never too soon to inspire children to help others and learn to support those who are less fortunate.”
Annual Giving Coordinator Valerie Rossi has gotten to know Lynn quite well as Lynn’s avidly pursued her mission.
“Lynn is a strong, compassionate person who cares deeply about her community and her family,” says Val. “She inspires me every time I see her in my professional and personal life and I will be cheering loudly for her team Sunday.”
“It’s because of donors and supporters of events like Dash, that the Society can fund researchers who are thinking outside of the box to develop novel treatments and therapies,” Val adds.
One of these researchers is Dr. Cynthia Hawkins who, with funding from the Society, is searching for better ways to diagnose and treat childhood cancers of the central nervous system – and specifically DIPG. Over the last decade, Dr. Hawkins has developed one of the largest collections of DIPG tumours in the world, which she is now using to create a test to more accurately diagnose DIPG and explore new treatment options. Dr. Hawkins also met with international experts to update the World Health Organization (WHO)’s classification system for central nervous system tumours. Based on her research, an entirely new diagnostic category was created, which is changing tumour testing around the world.
Lynn is rallying her community to get behind her cause and encouraging everyone to join the Dash or donate. Last year, her team was responsible for nearly half of the approximate $40,000 raised, with elementary schools accounting for about $12,000 of this under her team’s banner.
This year, energy surrounding the event is high with over 50% of the $29,000 goal ($16,000 and counting) contributed so far by cash and in-kind donors, including top sponsors Teck, EZ Rock, Black Press, Pacific Coastal, Gerick Sports, Zellstoff Celgar, the Goat, and Kootenay Savings Credit Union.
The walk/run starts at 9 a.m. (day of registration opens at 8 a.m.) in Gyro Park and will wrap up by 1 p.m. The event includes entertainment, activities for the kids, 50/50, a silent auction and honouring and celebrating cancer survivors.
Participants automatically are entered into a chance to win a flight for two from Trail to Vancouver or Victoria upon registration, thanks to sponsor Pacific Coastal’s generous contribution. An additional ticket for the giveaway will also be doled out for every $100 a participant raises.
To register or donate to the event or a specific team, like Team NRG (with funds earmarked for childhood cancer research), visitcancer.ca/daffodildashand select “BC Yukon” and then “Trail.” Registration fees are $15 for youth and $30 for adults now and $20 for youth and $40 for adults on event day.
To stay connected to the event, ‘like’ the Daffodil Dash Trail BC Facebook page or, for all Society-related happenings, the West Kootenay Boundary Canadian Cancer Society page.
To volunteer or learn more about the event, contact Valerie at 250-364-0403 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Key facts about childhood cancer
· Every year, about 900 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer in Canada
· Childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among Canadian children past infancy
· 2/3 of childhood cancer survivors will suffer long-term side effects from treatment
· In 2015, Canadian Cancer Society donors invested $4.5 million in childhood cancer research
· Over the last 15 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has invested $47 million in childhood cancer research, thanks to donors from coast to coast
- Because of investments in cancer research, the five year survival rate for children facing cancer has improved from 71% in the 1980s to 83% today but there is still work to do