Firefighters’ annual campaign builds up steam

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Local biking team gearing up to take on Ride to Conquer Cancer again

That firefighter’s boot is bulging at the seams, thanks to the continuing generosity of people keen to help combat neuromuscular disorders. A group of the first responders took different orders than usual on Thursday evening as they served hungry diners at East Side Mario’s, an annual tradition in support of the crew’s Muscular Dystrophy Rooftop Campout. All of their tips went into the boot, so to speak.

St. Albert firefighter and fundraiser spokesperson Jay Howells said that the tally still hadn’t come in but the tables were full and the firefighters were hopping.

“During the supper hours, it was fantastic,” he exclaimed, noting that the restaurant manager thought that it could bring in a stronger take than last year’s event. “I think that speaks for itself. People were out and enjoying themselves. It was a good turnout.”

They were also taking donations from attendees at Monday’s Fire and Ice Festival at Lacombe Lake Park. Those figures haven’t yet been tabulated either, but they have already logged in more than $6,000 thanks to their campaign kickoff at the Inglewood Safeway on the first weekend of the month. They’re already well on their way to their goal of $25,000.

From Sunday, Feb. 26 to Wednesday, March 1, they’ll be on the roof of Fire Hall #2. Until March 10, there is also the online auction of various items that the public can also bid on. Check that out at www.stalbertfirefighters.com.

Kicking cancer’s butt with a bike

Bonny Kruk isn’t thinking of how icy these streets are at the moment. She’s already thinking of how dry the road is going to be this summer and how she’ll be seeing enough of it right up close and personal.

She hopes to make a difference while she once again treks through the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a two-day, 200-km charity fundraiser that will take hundreds of riders from Calgary to Okotoks and back. The mother of two rode last year with her fellow intrepid riders Corinne Fawcett, Sarah Crear, and Brittany Uchach.

“We trained hard and we worked our butts off to do it. Two of them personally had never been on a bike before.”

Kruk herself had decided that cancer had impacted so many of her loved ones that she needed to start her own journey to help others fighting cancer. Sadly, she had just lost her dad and mother within a ten-day span.

“There’s a big enough blow that makes a family reel together. It’s basically like a cord that attaches the family together more than you can even imagine. It just takes your breath away on what to do.”

And then her brother was diagnosed with cancer and died not even eight months later.

Previously, she was the sort of person to donate whenever the opportunity arose. After her year of tragedy, she decided to step up her game. She was one of the more than 1,400 people who participated last year, helping to raise $6.35 million for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Now, she wants to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer every year.

“I can’t imagine having no one that’s been affected. This is why people do it.”

This year’s ride takes place on the weekend of August 12 and 13. More information on participating and contributing can be found at ab17.conquercancer.ca.

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Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.