CANTON - Approximately 350 people from around St. Lawrence walked, ran and Zumbaed to raise money for local cancer-themed charities and organizations at the 34th annual Edward Moses Walk/Run For Life.
Kellie J. Hitchman, who co-chairs the event, said this was the first time theyve included Zumba.
We added Zumba this year to try and capitalize on its popularity and widen our audience for support, she said.
A health fair is also included featuring the organizations benefitting from the event.
This is the second year for the health fair, Ms. Hitchman said. We basically bring in the programs we fund so people working to raise the funds can see where their money is going.
Proceeds from the walk are divided between the Center for Cancer Care at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, E.J. Noble Hospital, Gouverneur Businesswomens Breast Cancer Fund, Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley, Massena Memorial Hospital, Richard E. Winter Cancer Treatment Center, Ryans Wish Foundation, St. Lawrence County Cancer Services and the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative.
Ms. Hitchman also said this years event is being used to launch the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund.
Well continue to fund the programs we do now, and were hoping to increase support for people with incidental expenses like getting back and forth to treatment, she said.
Ms. Hitchman said the goal was to raise $75,000.
Sometimes we raise more; sometimes we raise less, she said, noting in previous years the event has raised as much as $100,000.
Warren A. Dyke founded the walk 34 years ago. At that time, the walk, he said, didnt even have a name.
It wasnt until the second annual walk that the event became a tribute to Edward I. Moses, who had been diagnosed with cancer and was the president of Kinney Drugs.
Mr. Dyke was serving at the time on the American Cancer Societys St. Lawrence County Board of Directors.
I tried to convince them for years that a walk/run would be a good thing, and they finally told me that if I did all the work it was OK, he recalled.
Mr. Dyke also explained that their first several walk/runs were almost like a relay, with participants from around the county running from one community to the next.
Its grown so much, he said, referring to the walk. After today we will have raised a total of more than $1.25 million.
Mr. Dyke said his initial involvement in the fight against cancer began after his 25-year-old brother died from Hodgkins Disease. He also noted his mother passed away from cancer when she was 83.
Ms. Hitchman said her family too, has been hit by cancer, but noted that her loved ones have been able to beat the disease.
Mr. Moses son, Jim was in attendance at the walk, with his son, Alan.
He had bone cancer and was too young. He never got to know his grandson and passed away when he was 62, Mr. Moses said, referring to his father.
Mr. Moses also noted that this years walk was being held in memory of his mother, Joyce Moses, who passed away this past fall.
The old-timers here will remember mom used to say she was in charge of the weather, he said. Now shes on the other end, and theres not a cloud in the sky.
Many of the events other participants were also walking in memory of or in honor of a loved one.
Were walking in memory of and dedication to the survivors and non-survivors in our families, Lisa J. Powers said.
Ms. Powers said this was her first time participating in the walk.
Its something that Ive always wanted to do and since the death of her husband and the realization my father wasnt going to get better, I decided to walk this year, Ms. Powers said, referring to her friend LouEllen Smithers husband and her own fathers five-year battle with cancer.
Ms. Smithers said her husband, Ron, passed away from cancer in 2009.
This is my second year, she said. I walk in honor of him and to help raise awareness.
Kaylene A. Scott was also participating in her second Edward Moses Walk, but this years event was special because she designed the logo for the commemorative water bottles given to each participant.
She said she designed the logo, as a project in her graphic communications class at Northwest Tech.
It was a project that all of the classes did and mine got picked, she said. Its cool, because now I can put that in my portfolio.