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Serratus Superstars (l-r): Sharon Goszer-Tritt, Randee Pollock, Cathy Moser, Harriet Zimmer.

By MYRON LOVE
The 11th annual Cancercare Manitoba Foundation Challenge for Life 20KM walk (or 200-minute workout) will take place in Assiniboine Park on Saturday, June 10, and several members of our Jewish community are – once again – among the leading fundraisers.


As usual, the community team that has raised the most money is the Serratus Superstars, a team with a distinctly Jewish flavour. As of May 17, the Serratus Superstars had raised just over $17,000 for this year’s drive. Only one other community team – The Sons of Italy – had raised more ($400 more) to this point. The Superstars’ goal this year is $50,000 (as compared to $25,000 for the Sons of Italy).
Serratus Superstars is made up of a group of friends who have been doing the Cancercare Challenge for Life Walk since its inception in 2008. This year, the team consists of 17 participants, including Don Aronovitch, Faren Bernstein, Susan Billinkoff, Debby Brown, Rachael and Rietta Floom, Jeff Itzkow, Fay-Lynn Katz, Martin Krawitz, Gayle Marcus, Steve Moscovitch, Cathy Moser, Lissy Neville, Susan Remis, Sharon Tritt and Alex and Harriet Zimmer.
Serratus Superstars team members raise money for cancer research not only through the walk/workout but also with an annual bake sale and other activities. The annual bake sale this year was held in the foyer of the Cancercare Manitoba building.
"Many patients going by for treatment or check-ups stop in to pick up goods,” says Cathy Moser. “We see them as heroes and they appreciate our support.”
Serratus Superstars have raised close to $350,000.00 over the years for cancer research. “We hope to double our donations within the next several years,” says Moser, -“but we need more walkers.
“Our team is made up of cancer survivors and supporters, and smart people who know that we have to invest in obtaining the best cancer care specialists, diagnostic equipment, and patient facilities that money can buy. We also know that the government funding doesn’t even begin to approach what is needed for that - so we are doing our best to make it happen. Monies from the Challenge for Life Walk are used for Manitobans, and there is a limited amount that is spent on administrative fees,” Moser adds.

Team Schvesters (l-r): Meachelle Bellan, Debbie Lewis, Benji Harvey, after completing 200 minutes of “working it”.

Among individual participants from amidst our Jewish community, Team Schvesters’ Benji Harvey is in the top ten among all individual fundraisers – having personally raised over $3,000 (as of May 17). Team Schvesters – like Serratus Superstars, one of the original teams - was founded by the “Greenfeld girls” - Benji Harvey and her sisters, Lesly Katz and Debby Lewis. Two of the sisters have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Other team members include their cousins, Meachelle and Bernie Bellan, Kim Gray, Wendy Holm Jody Van de Vijsel, and Marek Rzeszutek.
Team Schvesters currently sits in third place among community teams. The team’s goal this year is to raise $10,000 and they are currently more than half way there with just over two weeks to go

Nancy’s Nightingales - Connie Botelho, Harriet Lyons and Louise Raber, have already reached their target of just under $5,000. The threesome are currently fifth among community teams.

Nancy’s Nightingales (l-r): Harriet Lyons, Joanne Katz, Louise Raber, Connie Botelho


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 out there,” Raber says.
In previous years, Joanne Katz has also been part of the team but, Raber notes, she is in Israel at the moment.
 

 

The Jacob boys (l-r): Jon, Sean, Hart and Ken (Z”l)

This is the second year for the  Jacob Joggers. The team is dedicated to the memory of Ken Jacob, who passed away from cancer in the fall of 2016. The team is led by Jacob’s sons, Sean and Hart, and also includes sister-in-law Beth, and friends Scott McWilliam and Christie Thorsteinsson. The team has already exceeded its goal of $2,750. ,

One other “Jewish” team is Team Ghost Town Manitoba, consisting of siblings Adam, Dana, Meirav, Micah, Seth and Mara Nepon Pellettieri, who are raising funds for cancer research in memory of their brother, Jonah, who lost his life to cancer four years ago. (Ghost Town Manitoba was the name of Jonah’s promotion company.) The team has also exceeded its goal of $2,500.
With the fundraising event still a few days off, there is still time for readers to donate. Dial up Cancercare Manitoba Foundation, click on Challenge for Life and enter the name of the individual or team you would like to support.
According to the Cancercare 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.
“Unfortunately,” notes Cathy Moser, “your tax-deductible investment will eventually be used to support you or your family members in this journey that affects us all.