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    Captain Canada used his powers for good, knighting those who fought valiantly against cancer. Nine-year-old Katie Morrow stepped up and was the first to be honoured for her courage. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    On Sept 15, the inaugural Neon Night for Childhood Cancer started off at the Petawawa Civic Centre. Hundreds of runners and walkers met at the starting line to trek 2 or 5 km. They raised over $34,000. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Honourary Survivor Aspyn Carroll, 18, between her parents Kerri and Tom Carroll. They supported her throughout her journey, and helped her hold up a long strand of beads. Each bead signified a different treatment or medication she had to take in the past year. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



Neon Night raises $34,000 for childhood cancer

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday October 11, 2018

Dressed in neon colours and holding glow sticks, over 500 people walked through Petawawa to raise money in the fight against childhood cancer.

The inaugural Renfrew Country Canadian Cancer Society Neon Night on Sept. 15 was a success, raising over $34,000. Participants were invited to walk or run a 2 km or 5 km path that started and ended at the Petawawa Civic Centre. To help brighten up the evening, they were also asked to wear their most neon and colourful outfits. “By being here today, you are saying that kids with cancer are important and your donation is providing what you want to change,” said Emcee Kyle Robinson. “The fact that you asked a friend or a colleague to come with you today to participate shows our community that you are proud to stand together and tell cancer, ‘These kids are ours. Leave them alone. We will fight for them together.’”

The news is relatively positive for children with cancer. In 1981, the overall five-year survival rate was 71 per cent. That number has climbed to 83 per cent, with some types of cancer having a survival percentage closer to 100 per cent when found in THE early stages. This is due to better treatment and detection, research funded in part by events like Neon Night.

Yet one child with cancer is still too much as evidenced by all those who came out in support.

At only 18 years old, Honourary Survivor Aspyn Carroll of Pembroke was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood, and bone cancer, and has spent the last year fighting the disease. She still must undergo 18-months of maintenance therapy as she recovers from her treatments. But she has managed to keep her positive attitude and trademark kindness through it all, and is an inspiration to many.

When asked why she wanted to be the Honourary Survivor, her answer was simple. “I thought it would be such a cool experience,” said Carroll. “This is the first time that Petawawa or Pembroke has had anything like this so when they asked me, I was over the moon.”

During the opening ceremonies, she and her parents, Kerri and Tom Carroll, stood on stage and shared her difficult journey. They carried a long strand of coloured beads, each representing the 335 chemotherapy treatments, 50 blood transfusions, and countless rounds of antibiotics. “I was in active treatment for 10 months and I could not go home because we lived too far away,” said Carroll. “So we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.”

“I fought my way through every battle and these beads show exactly what I have endured,” she added, thanking attendees for thinking of the children still fighting and the ones who are no longer with us.

Though she was unable to take part in the run herself, a small army of friends kept her in their thoughts as they ran and walked the course. “I’m so surprised and happy that they are here,” said Carroll. “I had no idea if they were going to come or not.”

She, as well as all cancer survivors, were brought on stage and officially knighted by Captain Canada, to highlight the courage it takes to fight the disease.

Perri-Rae Boell and associates from Co-operators Insurance and Financial Services were the event’s overall sponsor. “I thank my team as well who jumped on board and they are all here tonight,” said Boell. “The strength, love, and courage of every child, sibling and parent displays at such a terrible time is truly inspiring and provides support and hope to others.”