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    More than 500 people joined in the Canadian Cancer Society Renfrew County Community Office’s 2nd annual Neon Night with proceeds going towards the fight against childhood cancer. The fundraising run was held on Sept. 14 at the Petawawa Civic Centre. As participants began the two or five km walk/run, they were invited to high five the stormtrooper. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Under Captain Canada’s watchful eye, 2019 Honourary Warrior Katie Morrow, 10, is knighted by last year’s Honourary Warrior Aspyn Carroll.

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    Under Captain Canada’s watchful eye, 2019 Honourary Warrior Katie Morrow, 10, is knighted by last year’s Honourary Warrior Aspyn Carroll.



Second annual Neon Night raises $25,000

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday October 3, 2019

As the sun set on the Petawawa skyline Sept. 14, a sea of neon-clad runners took off from the Civic Centre parking lot. They made for an exciting sight as they ran or walked two or five kms as part of the Canadian Cancer Society, Renfrew County Community Office’s 2nd annual Neon Night.

The fundraising run raised about $25,000, with more trickling in, funds to be used in the fight against childhood cancer.

There were 365 registered runners and walkers, but there were over 500 participants which equalled a very successful turnout said Lana Gorr, Community Engagement Specialist. “September is childhood cancer awareness month, so this is the perfect time for us to have an event like this to raise awareness on childhood cancer and for valuable dollars going to research.”

Amy Lavier, 2019 Event Chairperson, spoke to the crowd before the race, sharing the heartbreak of having lost a child to cancer in November 2016. Her son Cameron “Cam” Lavier was just four when he passed away from a rare type of cancer.

She recalled how Cam had a natural curiosity about the world around him and an inherent need to learn. At just four-years-old, he could count, read and spell at an almost Grade 1 level. He could steal hearts with just a glance and brought joy to all those around him.

His journey into the world of childhood cancer began when he approached his mother complaining of pain in his buttock. Tests came back negative and it was chalked up as growing pains until it became debilitating and normal childhood activities became impossible.

He caught chickenpox and a strange lump appeared on his tailbone. He was diagnosed with stage-four malignant rhabdoid tumour in June 2016. “It was one that CHEO had never seen before,” said Lavier, adding that Cam underwent 21 chemotherapy treatments, 25 radiation treatments and endured countless needles.

Despite all efforts and his ceaselessly positive attitude, he passed away, and Lavier swore to him that she would keep his memory alive, raising awareness for families fighting childhood cancer. “I promised that I would spend the rest of my life telling his story,” she said. “I am keeping my promise to my son through events like this and our foundation at CHEO.”

Events like Neon Night truly do help children like Cam, she noted. “Funds cannot be raised without the support of incredible people like you,” she said to the crowd gathered before her. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.”

It also helps children like Petawawa-resident Katie Morrow, 10. She is this year’s Honourary Warrior. She has been cancer-free for about two years. “When I was six-years-old, I was diagnosed with leukaemia,” said Morrow. “I had two years of chemotherapy and being diagnosed kept me away from friends and family. I couldn’t go to school and I had just started Grade 1.”

She admitted that she had good days and bad, but finished her speech with an epic mic drop; “cancer messed with the wrong kid.”

She was then knighted by last year’s Honourary Warrior Aspyn Carroll, passing on the proverbial torch on to her successor. All those who felt comfortable sharing their childhood cancer journey were then invited on stage to be knighted by Morrow themselves.

Before the race, children and their parents were invited to take part in many different activities such as face painting, a meal by a donation from East Side Marios, music, bouncy castles and more.

Though cancer is the leading cause of non-accidental death in children, there is good news. With advances in research and treatment, the survival rates have significantly improved. In Canada today, about 83 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer will survive.

“We believe that one child with cancer is too many and your support has never been more important,” added Gorr.