Yesterday Nolan’s Dream Chasers took to the streets of Toronto for Sporting Life 10K to celebrate Nolan’s victory lap. NO MORE CANCER! Treatment officially finished literally the night before the race. It was an emotionally loaded day and a ton of fun. I am so thrilled and honoured that I got to be a part of it.
The best news of the morning was the fact that we had raised a total of over $31,000 and achieved our goal of being the top fundraising team! Thank you so much to all of you who helped make that happen. (And Erin was the top individual by a long shot!)
Nolan even made the front page of the Toronto Star on Saturday!
“Today, six-year-old Nolan Hathway finishes with 1,199 days of hospital visits, pills and pain. His treatment for blood cancer is done. Tomorrow, on his first day as a cancer survivor, he runs.”
I met up with the team in the starting area on Monday morning. It was sprinkling rain so we stayed bundled in our ever-so-fashionable throw-aways.
After chatting away excitedly for a while and wishing everybody good luck (we even had some first-timers!), it was time to line up with the masses. I commented that I had never started so far back at this race. Despite having nearly 20000 runners, the corral system seemed to work pretty well and we never felt over-crowded.
A bunch of us started together, and I was determined to stick with Nolan’s Mom Erin, Meg and T. We had a couple of goals: (1) be as loud as possible, and (2) get our picture taken as much as possible. We had cowbells attached to ourselves and fluorescent orange shirts, so we were definitely up for the challenge.
It was a ton of fun clanging along the course attracting as much attention as possible, soaking up all the cheers and comments from spectators and other runners. We stuck together, laughed a lot, rang our bells like crazy, posed for cameras and counted down the kilometres to one big finish. It was amazing to watch the sea of runners snaking along Yonge Street ahead of us (the course is a straight line until 7K).
I don’t think we stopped smiling the entire time. So many things to be happy about and what a perfect way to celebrate. How appropriate that it was also Mother’s Day too! I loved sharing this day with the strongest and most incredible Mom I know. No kid should have to go through what Nolan has, but he was lucky to have a Mom and family who could handle it. They fought relentlessly for every one of those 1,199 days and this family didn’t just survive – they have thrived.
Soon the much anticipated finish line was in sight and we spotted Nolan waiting with his Dad on the sidelines, ready to hop in for his shining moment.
The crowd erupted around us as Nolan ran along side his Mom all the way in to the finish.
After crossing the finish line, we easily spotted all of our fellow orange shirts and rallied up for lots of hugs and high fives. It may have been my slowest 10K time, but it was by far the most worthwhile and rewarding.
Later at the awards ceremony, Nolan got to go up on stage with some other kids while Camp Ooch accepted the cheque for over $1.9 Million. Several counsellors and reps from Camp Ooch were there and they took the time to congratulate Nolan and thank the team personally. It really felt good to give back as much as we could to such a wonderful organization that truly makes a difference.
Thank you again to everyone who has supported us this year. I don’t think any of us will ever forget the impact of this day.
The winner of my fundraiser giveaway, selected by random draw, is: