The Rankin Cancer Run is one of my favourite annual community events in Niagara. Thank you to Mary Ann Edwards, her team of organizers and the countless volunteers for making it bigger and better each year. Over 13,000 runners and walkers participated this year, raising a record $1,000,000! And every dollar stays in Niagara. I was the unofficial 25 min pace bunny once again and we had a blast taking wild group selfies at every km marker along the way.
The run brings families, friends and schools together in a common cause against this deadly disease. If I could reinforce just one message that may get lost in all the excitement, it is the importance of prevention. The best way to beat cancer is to prevent it. Nearly half of all cancers can be prevented through a combination of regular cancer screening and healthy lifestyle behaviours, such as healthy eating and active living.
It’s now been a few weeks since the Rankin. How many of the participants have been for a 5k brisk walk or jog since then? Or made a deliberate effort to eat healthy meals together as a family? We all need to make healthy choices a regular part of our daily lives, regardless of how busy we are. But individual responsibility, while important, only has full effect when people have equal access to healthy choices. Our governments have a crucial role to play by supporting public policies and programs that help make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Think of the thousands of students who attended the event. They saw that by working together as a community, positive change is possible. To keep the Rankin Run spirit alive 365 days a year, we need to keep the momentum going. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Gennext cabinet member