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CIBC's branch manager Wendy Anderson, left, artist Marie-Christine Aubrey, and Jeanette Mills with the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation show off Aubrey's hand-painted quilt commissioned for Run for Our Lives. - Jessica Klinkenberg/NNSL photo

Still running for lives

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 17, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - It's been three years since the Run for Our Lives started up in the Northwest Territories and the run is seeing success.

When it began in 2005, the run took place just within Yellowknife. Today six communities in the territory participate and $285,000 has been raised so far.

The money is distributed where Northerners need it most for cancer research.

Stanton Territorial Hospital has received $60,000 for the Patient Navigator program - a counselling service for cancer patients - and $71,000 went towards a digital mammography machine.

The run takes place Sept. 30. On Tuesday, the CIBC and the Run for Our Lives committee unveiled new artwork for the event. The art will be hung at Stanton Hospital.

The art is commissioned from a northern artist every year, and this year Fort Smith's Marie-Christine Aubrey, a breast-cancer survivor, took the project on. For her, it was personal.

"It really touched me deeply (being asked). As a cancer survivor I immediately said yes."

Aubrey said she asked her daughter, who is away at university, what she should do.

"She said 'Mommy you're never really out of ideas.'"

Aubrey's art is mainly quilting, including one showing a landscape with the sun painted in the centre.

The idea for the quilt came from Aubrey's reflections while meditating, which she starting doing after she was diagnosed with cancer.

The 'place' she went to during her meditations was a hill with trees where the sun frequently shone.

"That place is really a part of me. The trees on one side are representative of life.

"I was very honoured to be asked to do that and hopefully it will inspire someone."

Aubrey was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago.

"It's very near and dear to our hearts," said Wendy Anderson, the branch manager for CIBC.

Anderson said that when CIBC was approached to support Run for Our Lives the bank quickly agreed to do it and it's been growing ever since.

"We have six communities in the North involved with the run."

Jeanette Mills, from the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation, said that the run and the funds raised through it are inspiring but not more so than the people organizing the race.

"Honestly it's amazing to see the dedication of the women on this committee," she said.