Get ready to make the climb … for cancer


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Janna Peters (left) of the Canadian Cancer Society, David Duck, Climb for Cancer campaign chair, Sandra Blackwell of the Canadian Cancer Society, and Doug Bell of Northern Lights Estate Winery are ready for the Climb for Cancer.
Janna Peters (left) of the Canadian Cancer Society, David Duck, Climb for Cancer campaign chair, Sandra Blackwell of the Canadian Cancer Society, and Doug Bell of Northern Lights Estate Winery are ready for the Climb for Cancer. Bill Phillips photo

Climbing the cutbanks is an every day activity in Prince George. It’s almost a right of passage.

The sandy soil makes for a challenging climb.

Rest assured, climbing the cutbanks is tough enough.

But climbing them in high heels? That has to extra tough. That’s exactly what a group of intrepid climbers are going to do on April 21 during the third annual Climb for Cancer.

The call themselves Heelin’ for Cancer, which is an obvious play on words as they try to heal cancer.

“We’re raising money for cancer and it stays locally,” said Sarah Bonnar. “Some of us make the climb up in high heels. Parents are welcome, kids are welcome, grandparents are welcome. It’s really a nice event.”

The first year there were 30 people on the team, including Erin Simpson who is a cancer survivor.

Last year the numbers were down a bit, but the enthusiasm is still high. The team looking raise $1,000 for the cause.

Set for April 21, the Climb for Cancer calls for individuals or teams to conquer Prince George’s iconic cutbanks, all to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Kordyban Lodge.

“The participants arrive on the afternoon of the event, they make one, two or numerous trips up the cutbanks,” said David Duck, campaign chair. “All the funds raised stay in Prince George and they are directed towards the operations of the Kordyban Lodge.”

There is a $5 registration fee and participants raise funds by collecting pledges.

Duck says the climb is different than other fundraisers because it requires more than simply writing a cheque. Fundraisers actually climb the cutbanks.

“It’s something that can be undertaken by everyone, from three to 83,” he said.

There are no time or age restraints, just come out and help out. The climb has raised more than $50,000 in its first two years, and it is growing every year. Last year between 250 and 300 people took part in the climb and this year Duck is hoping for 500 participants.

The climb starts at the Northern Lights Estates Winery, where participants can register. However, Duck urges people to register online before the day of the event (see below). From the winery, participants make the short hike to the cutbanks before making the ascent. Pacific Western Brewing is helping out with parking, so you can park at the brewery and take a shuttle to the winery.

“We’re trying attract more youth, more out of town participants and from the fitness community,” said Duck, adding corporate sponsorship has also been a great help.

Erin Simpson (left) and Sarah Bonnar of the Healin' for Cancer team with John Brink of the Brink Group of Companies are ready to climb the iconic cutbanks behind them.
Erin Simpson (left) and Sarah Bonnar of the Heelin’ for Cancer team with John Brink of the Brink Group of Companies are ready to climb the iconic cutbanks behind them. Bill Phillips photo

The Brink Group of Companies will also be entering a team in the climb this year.

“Cancer can affect anyone at any time,” said John Brink of Brink Forest Products. “It makes us appreciate every day.”

He encourages everyone to come out and support the event.

“It’s a real community effort and it’s going to be a great, great day.”

Kordyban Lodge in Prince George, offers a home away from home for those receiving treatment while on their own personal cancer journey. With 36 beds, three meals a day, and the opportunity to be among others who are on the same journey, it is a place that offers warmth, comfort and support during a very difficult time.

Kordyban Lodge is supported entirely through donations, and all proceeds from the Climb for Cancer go to the lodge.

To register online for the Climb for Cancer, click here.