By Sean Meyer
In 2010 Theresa Carriere created the ONERUN as a one-time idea to run 100 kilometres, in one day, to raise money for breast cancer research.
On June 25, 2010 Carriere completed the ONERUN — from London to Sarnia in less than 12 hours — and helped to raise over $180,000. That first run, led to a second when on June 10, Carriere completed her adventure and ran from Sarnia to London.
As she helped present a cheque Monday (July 25) for $200,000 to world-renown cancer researcher Dr. Ann Chambers at London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) Victoria Hospital, she faced the question of whether or not there will be a third edition of the run.
Carriere, herself a breast cancer survivor, was unable to answer that particular question, but she did say whatever the future holds, she will stay involved in the fight against cancer. And that fight, Carriere said, might be taken up with the youngest victims of the war on cancer, the children of those living with the disease.
“I knew the question (about a third run) was coming, but right now, I just don’t know. The work will continue. But I’m honestly not sure what ONERUN’s future might look like,” Carriere said. “I think what I learned was that I really loved getting out with the kids. There are kids coping with family members who are dealing with cancer. It is important that we can get the hope out there that cancer can be beaten. I would like to continue that work with kids in some form.”
The run itself is symbolic of the Carriere’s message of hope. This year’s run saw Carriere's message shared at over 40 fundraising events and at numerous speaking engagements including visiting 35,000 students at more than 83 schools in towns and cities from Sault Ste. Marie to Windsor.
Carriere said the $200,000 donation meant a lot to her, and not just because her favourite number is two. The money raised through the ONERUN, Carriere said, has been raised through the efforts of some amazing people and will be used to fund the research of other amazing people.
“That is a big number. For me it means that maybe we will get closer to the answers we need. It means a lot of generosity from a lot of people. It means there has been a lot of work done by this team,” Carriere said. “Ann is a special lady and her program is just so amazing. There are so many people diagnosed with breast cancer. We just hope in a small way we have helped to save a lot of lives.”
Chambers, along with London Health Sciences Foundation President and CEO Dan Ross, was only too happy to be on-hand to accept Carriere’s donation. The donation will benefit the Pamela Greenaway Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit at LHSC’s London Regional Cancer Program. The research unit is headed by Chambers.
Chambers said she thinks of two things when the subject of the ONERUN is brought up. First, that Carriere is an inspiration to the whole community and especially young people. But also, that her journey, and that of the researchers she is helping to fund, are very similar stories.
“Theresa did this amazing thing one step at a time. We do research one small step at a time. As long as we are going in the right direction, we are going to cure this disease,” Chambers said. “Right now many breast cancers are already curable. There isn’t going to be one cure, but rather a series of cures depending on the kind of cancer it is.
Chambers said she feels breast cancer research is definitely headed in the right direction. To prove her point, Chamber pointed to breast cancer survival statistics, that between 1988 and now, have improved by 30 per cent.
As someone who has been involved the battle against cancer for a long time, Chambers said Carriere also plays a very important role aside from being able to raise money. That role, Chambers said, is providing inspiration to people.
“Her message is a message of hope. You can take something that life gives you and you can say I am not going to accept it on your terms, I am going to accept it on my terms,” Chambers said. “So Theresa and the team will either continue this or do something else, but they all know they can do amazing things. And they will.”