22nd annual Stroll & Dash event raises over $175,000 to help support the psychological needs of kids being treated for cancer at The Children’s
On Sunday, October 1, hundreds of people of all ages assembled in Danyluk Park, in the Town of Mount-Royal, to walk, run and play at the 22nd edition of Stroll & Dash (formerly known as Splash & Dash). The event raised over $175,000 for Sarah’s Fund for Cedars, which aims to improve support, care and outcomes for pediatric cancer patients and their families at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
The Montreal Children’s Hospital treats an average of 1,500 young cancer patients every year. A cancer diagnosis and treatments can seriously affect a child’s mental, physical, and emotional health. It can also be extremely difficult for parents.
“This year, Sarah’s Fund for Cedars will support H.O.P.E, a new program that will address the psychological needs of young cancer patients and their families at The Children’s,” said Sarah Cook. “My family and I are extremely happy to support H.O.P.E. and we’re committed to raising $365,000 for this important new initiative over the next three years.”
“A cancer diagnosis is traumatic for anyone, but it’s especially distressing when it involves a child. It’s essential to provide families with psychosocial support from the moment their child is diagnosed, to help ease some of the stress of the cancer journey and improve outcomes,” said Jeff J. Shamie, President and CEO of the Cedars Cancer Foundation. “That’s why Cedars is proud to help fund the H.O.P.E. program. It will allow The Children’s to hire additional resources, which means more people will be able to receive the help they need, wait times will be decreased, and more types of services will be offered,” he added.
Stroll & Dash is the main annual fundraiser for Sarah’s Fund for Cedars. It’s a fun, family-oriented, all-day outdoor event. Originally called Splash & Dash, the format used to involve swimming, walking and cycling races. It has since evolved, and now involves only short walking and running races – all of which are done in a spirit of fun, rather than competition. In addition to the races, there was delicious food, a DJ, face-painting, clowns, nail art, inflatable castles, arts & crafts, and Zumba.
This year’s edition of Stroll & Dash was co-chaired by Jessica Lutfy and Casey Tabah, two young mothers whose families have strong ties to the Cedars Cancer Foundation and to Sarah’s Fund for Cedars.
“My family has been supporting Cedars for many years, and, now that I’m a parent, I knew this was the right time – and the right way – for me to get involved,” explained Jessica Lutfy. “I feel a sense of responsibility to give back to the healthcare system and to show thanks for the amazing doctors and facilities to which we have access.”
Casey Tabah is the daughter and granddaughter of two renowned MUHC surgical oncologists. “Also, I used to manage Sarah’s Fund and organize Splash & Dash when I was younger, so it was a real honour when the Cooks asked me to co-chair this year’s event. I’m delighted to help, because I know firsthand what a difference Sarah’s Fund makes and how special this event is. It’s great spending a day outside playing ... for a good cause.”
The highlight of the day was, as always, the “Heroes & Celebrities Race,” during which about thirty young cancer patients and survivors walked or ran around the track, accompanied by their family members, local celebrities, as well as local police and fire fighters. “It’s really nice for the little ‘heroes,’ who get to see hundreds of people cheering them on,” added Lutfy. “Plus, it reminds the rest of us why we’re there and who we’re raising money for.”