• Print

StrattusBy MYRON LOVE

Cancer touches most people in our society at some point in one’s life. Those of us who have been fortunate not to have been stricken with cancer likely have had a family member or close friend who has been.


Once again, Jewish-led “community teams” (as differentiated from corporate teams) are among the top-ten fundraising teams that  participated in the upcoming 10th annual Cancercare Manitoba Foundation Challenge for Life 20KM walk (or 200-minute workout) in Assiniboine Park on Saturday, June 10.
According to the Foundation webpage, Proceeds from the Challenge for Life stay right here in Manitoba to support prevention, early detection, state-of-the-art treatment, world-class research and patient support at CancerCare Manitoba.
As in the past, the community team that has raised the most money is the “Serratus Superstars”, a team with a distinctly Jewish flavour. The Serratus Superstars are made up of a group of friends who have been doing the Cancercare Challenge for Life Walk since its inception in 2008. Last year, 20 of the 25 team members were Jewish. This year, the team consists of 19 participants, a majority ofwhom  are Jewish.
“We always try to recruit as many  team members as we can,” says team leader Dr. Cathy Moser. “There is always some turnover.”
The 2017 team members – in addition to Moser include: Don Aronovitch, Faren and Keevin Bernstein, Bernice Antony, Audrey Book, Lisa Hastings, Sharon Goszer-Tritt and Steven Tritt, Gayle Marcus, Steve Moscovitch, Maureen Penko, Esther Penner, Randee Pollock, Michelle Saltel, Ruth Simkin, Pam Vine, and Harriet and Alex Zimmer.
Last year, she reports, the Serratus Superstars led all team fundraising efforts with $58,500 in donations. This year, with fewer team members, the team has thus far raised just over $28,000 (all figures are as of last weekend with a week to go). (Only four corporate teams raised more money this year.)
“Over 10 years, we have raised over $250,000 for cancer research,” Moser says.
Serratus Superstars don’t confine themselves to the annual walk when it comes fundraising for cancer research efforts. As they’ve done in the past, team members organized a concert in early May – featuring Micah Erenberg – which raised $3,000 – and a bake sale in mid-May that brought in another $4,000-$5,000.
“Team Schvesters” has moved up to second place this year from fifth last year, having raised over $14,000 so far. Another original team, the core of the team has been the “Greenfeld girls”, sisters Benji Harvey, Lesly Katz and Debby Lewis, two of whom have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Team members are designating this year’s walk, the “Hike for Ike”, in memory of the Greenfeld sisters’ father who was taken by cancer shortly after Pesach after a very short illness.
The 2017 team consists of Benji Harvey (who is also one of the top individual fundraisers), along with sister Debby Lewis, their cousin Meachelle Bellan, Adam Nepon, Jody Van de Vijsel, Kiera Kaltchev, Everett Polanski and Adria Warren.  The team has been part of the cancer fundraiser for ten years in a row.
A new entry this year – and the team that has raised the fourth most amount of money with over $11,000 raised to date – is “Jacob’s Joggers”. The team is dedicated to the memory of Ken Jacob who passed away from cancer last fall. The team is led by Jacob’s sons: Sean, Jonathan and Hart, Jonathan’s wife, Beth, and a number of relatives and friends including Sheldon, Rosie, Anna and Mara Lyons Zipursky, Rachel and Scott McWilliam, Jaclyn Leskiw, Chantalle Noschese, Sybil Plattner and Christie Thorsteinsson.
Nancys“Nancy’s Nightingales”, which includes friends Connie Botelho, Joanne Katz, Harriet Lyons (The Jacob brothers aunt) and Louise Raber raised just over $7,000 this year and are in ninth place. “We have been participating in the Challenge since day one,” says Raber. “Per capita, we did very well.”
The group of nurses started walking for cancer in honour of a mutual friend named Nancy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. (She’s since recovered). “There are certainly other Nancys outs there,” Raber says.
 Noah Palansky is back again in the Challenge for Life. Although he and his “Kids Count” team (also including Adam and Amy Baron, Naomi Kirshenblatt, Cyle McNabb and Adam Yusim) started fundraising rather late this campaign, they have raised close to $2,500.Palansky
“Whatever we do contributes to the cause,” he notes.
Palansky was one of the youngest participants in the annual cancer research fundraiser back in 2008, shortly after his mother, Naomi, was diagnosed with cancer. (Sadly, she passed away in November, 2010, at the age of 46.)
He was 11 at the time. “I wanted to do something to make a difference,” he said.
What Noah did – first –with his younger sister, Lexi, joining him the next year – was to sign up for the Challenge for Life 20 km Walk in June, 2008. He solicited $14,000 worth of support that first time.
Last year, Noah (who is studying computer science) and Lexi (who is in Israel this spring) and their supporters raised $28,000 of which Noah himself brought in over $9,000. Thus far, the Palanskys and friends’ fundraising efforts have raised over $725,000 toward a goal of $1 million.