A snowy sea of pink will be swarming Muskoka’s snowmobile trails this weekend
Over 130 women are preparing to make tracks in Huntsville, Muskoka this February for the 20th Annual Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Snow Run. Slated February 1–3, the 150km snowmobile fundraiser will unite riders from across the region in support of woman undergoing breast cancer treatment and their loved ones who also face challenges along the journey.
The event is the brain child of good friends Kelly Shires and Suzy Stenoff. It began over two decades ago when Shires was enduring treatment and recognized a lack of adequate financial aid for breast cancer patients.
“A lot of people think that when your diagnosed with any type of cancer that the government automatically takes care of you or your private and public health care will take care of you and that’s not always the case,” Stenoff says. “There are a lot of extra expenses that can be incurred like hospital parking, wigs and prosthetics.”
When Shires said she wanted to help other patients overcome these additional expenses, the two jokingly considered holding a golf tournament. When they realized they knew nothing about the sport, the pair came up with a better plan. As Stenoff recalls: “We were sitting on her back deck sometime in the fall and I noticed her snow mobiles under a tarp. That’s when I suggested a snowmobile event, and she said ‘What about an all-women snow mobile event?’
From there, she adds, the idea snowballed into what has become an impactful and uniquely rewarding experience: “The whole idea is to help these women and their families pay for mortgages, incidentals, transportation to and from treatment, and child care so you can go to treatment and not have to worry about your children.”
Sadly, Shires later succumbed to cancer in October 2004, but not before seeing the snow run begin making an impact on the lives of breast cancer patients.
Today, Stenoff says the foundation has helped thousands of patients in Ontario and across Canada, with an average of 130 -150 riders making the trek every year.
“We have our regulars and who we affectionately call newbies, who quite often become regulars,” she says, adding, “Overall, there is such a vibe of friendship and family. It’s such a fun event, but it’s also very emotional.”
For more information you can go to http://www.breastcancersnowrun.org/