Abbey Webber has found a new way to challenge people to take up the fight against cancer.
Webber and her family have transformed their quarter section of hay land, located about 15 kilometres northeast of Estevan, into an obstacle course. The course will be used to test the mettle of those who are involved with the inaugural Crushin' it for Cancer fundraiser that will be happening on Saturday, September 22, beginning at noon.
Webber said the genesis for Crushin' it for Cancer came two years ago when a good friend, Leanne Gilbert, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Gilbert's son then started to grow his hair as a fundraiser; he didn't cut his hair until last month.
The Gilberts have also been collecting donations for the Phase II Expansion of the Breast Health Centre located at the Saskatoon City Hospital. They encouraged Webber to join in the fundraising efforts.
“Leanne's been a big part of my life, and it's something that's important to her,” said Webber. “It's something that she's doing, and I just wanted to help her out with that, and add to that, for her and for me.”
Webber is also keen on fitness, and has been involved in half-marathon events. A friend encouraged her to compete in the Tough Mudder and the Spartan races that happen in other communities. Webber decided instead to host an event that brings exercise and fundraising for the breast centre together.
“Instead of travelling to do a race, let's just have one here,” said Webber. “I have the land, and I have the space, so let's just do it here. And then I thought 'rather than just doing it to make money for myself, why don't we attach it to Leanne's cause, and then that way we can have some fun and raise some money at the same time.'”
Webber's family has been supportive, she said, and two of her friends – Kim Pastachak and Stacey Odgers, along with their families – are also involved with the event.
The obstacle course runs in a loop for over a mile. Natural obstacles include sloughs, uneven ground, six-foot grass with alfalfa, and trees that have fallen logs. Added challenges include a tire run, two low tunnels that have to be crawled through, a long line of bales to run on top of, two old bale stacks to climb over, an over-under obstacle and loose hay.
“Some of it was looking at the other races, and how they do things, and a lot of it just really was working with what kinds of materials we do have,” said Webber. “We have a lot of square bales left over from last year, and that kept our costs down.”
A few more hurdles will be added before Crushin' it for Cancer takes place.
Webber expects that it will take about 30 minutes for somebody at a higher level of fitness to complete the course, and up to 60 minutes for those who aren't as quick.
There are options for people to go around the obstacles, which will make the course more accessible to individuals of all fitness levels.
People are excited about the event, she said. Everybody who has heard about it has offered rave reviews of the concept.
“Estevan is a very fit town,” said Webber. “A lot of times, when I go to run (in half-marathons in other communities), there are a lot of people from Estevan there.”
About 20 people have signed up already. She'd like to get upwards of 100 participants. She hasn't established a financial goal, but she would like to see people have fun, and raise some money for the cancer centre.
Participants and spectators are asked to meet at the PennWest parking lot at 11 a.m. There will be a shuttle service to the Webber farm. There is a limited amount of parking available at the site, and it is reserved for sponsors and volunteers.
Sponsors have been very generous, she said, and have helped ensure that the event will be a success.
Webber hopes that Crushin' it for Cancer can become an annual event, and possibly something that could happen multiple times in a year. She also envisions a scenario in which people would pay to use the course when an event isn't happening, with proceeds going to the breast cancer centre.