Run for Mom helps hospital go digital

The Run for Mom is marking its 10th anniversary with a $600,000 donation to the Whitehorse General Hospital.

The Run for Mom is marking its 10th anniversary with a $600,000 donation to the Whitehorse General Hospital.

“This event has been a long time coming,” said Run for Mom chair Val Pike on Thursday at the hospital.

The official cheque presentation will be made on Sunday, before this year’s run kicks off at 1 p.m.

The money, raised over the past six years, is enough to cover the cost of a digital mammography machine for the hospitals’ medical imaging department.

Digital imaging is the new standard, and offers a much faster turnaround for test results, allowing women to get immediate results of their mammograms.

“Gone is the three-week waiting period for women,” said Pike.

The hospital knew that a sizable donation was coming their way, said Tanya Solberg, manager of medical imaging.

“But we didn’t know how much until this morning.” 

She said that the cost of the machine is in the $450- to $500,000 range.

“We knew Run for Mom was getting close to the amount needed,” said hospital CEO Joe MacGillivary.

“The sooner the better,” said Solberg when asked about the timeline for the new digital system, “the new machine should be up and running by Christmas.”

This is the second time in its 10 years that the Run for Mom organizers have dropped a sizable chunk of change on the hospital.

In 2002, they gave more than $200,000 for a new mammography machine and film processor.

“The most important thing is to recognize the contribution of the community,” said hospital board chair Craig Tuton.

“The efforts of the community to purchase equipment is greatly appreciated.”

Pike said that the donation is the result of the whole community pulling together to support breast health.

In the last few years there have been more than 1,200 runners, walkers and bikers turning out on the mother’s day weekend for the run.

The weather is a huge factor, said Pike.

“I remember we had snow one year, that was really no fun,” she said. “Keep your fingers crossed for good weather.”

She stressed that the Run for Mom is more than a huff-and-puff around the millennium trail.

“It’s everything from kids putting their pennies on the table, to big corporations making regular contributions.”

Local Tim Horton’s owner Dean Terry spent a few years trying to convince the coffee giant’s bigwigs to switch its smile cookie campaign to coincide with the Run for Mom in the Yukon.

“We did a run of smile cookies in September, and sold about a thousand,” said Terry. “But with the hospital and Run for Mom getting some synergy going, we’ll probably do about 5,000 this week — we’re selling a ton of cookies.”

“It’s not just about the equipment,” said Pike. “It’s also about supporting people in the community.”

Funds from the run have helped out with the Paddlers Abreast team in the Yukon River Quest, creating a brochure for the Karen Whittaker fund and this year the organization is sending two Yukoners to the 5th World Conference on Breast Cancer in Winnipeg this June.

Keeping the Yukon-raised funds in the territory was the original intention of the Run for Mom.

It all started with a CIBC Run for the Cure in 1997, but when more than half of the $40,000 raised that year went Outside, the organizing committee decided to start its own independent race, with CIBC staying on as a major sponsor.

Now that the Run for Mom has achieved its goal of helping the hospital go digital, Pike said they will focus on additional medical equipment related to breast cancer and other breast health initiatives “One in eight women are going deal with it in their lifetime,” she said. “It goes on and on.”

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