Finding out a friend or family member is fighting cancer can leave many people feeling helpless – not sure of what to do or how to help. Kelly Weise has been a friend of Gail MacKay’s since grade school, as is Weise’s daughter, Mandi Cartwright. You can hear the emotion in Gail MacKay’s voice as she describes her affection for Cartwright and the fight she is now waging against cervical cancer.
Cartwright spent much of her childhood in Kincardine, visiting her grandparents, Ray and Sally Boileau. She was a familiar face at the Tiny Tot summer playground programs she attended as a child and later, in 2008, as she attended college for journalism, she completed the co-op portion of her studies at The Kincardine Independent.
“I just feel we should do something here,” said MacKay.
To show her support for Cartwright and her family, MacKay is inviting residents to support the HodgePodge Portage Team and take part in Illuminight, a fundraiser for the Cancer Program at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, where Cartwright has been receiving treatment.
Participants are asked to meet at the corner of Broadway and Queen Streets in Kincardine on Oct. 13 at 6:45 p.m. They should bring a light – a flashlight, no-flame candle or glow stick – anything that will “shine a light on cancer”. The procession will begin at 7 p.m. with pandemic protocols, and safely make its way down Queen Street to Victoria Park.
“Mark your calendars for our Kincardine Walk to support Mandi Cartwright and this cause,” said MacKay. “Bring your friends and family along.”
Anyone interested in participating or donating can contact MacKay via Facebook. She hopes to raise at least $500 locally, not to collect one of the many prizes offered, but to show her support for dear friends.
“I am hopeful Kincardine will help make this event a big success,” said MacKay. “Kincardine has always been amazing that way.”
This is the fourth year for the Illuminight Walk. Since 2018, the event has raised more than $400,000 to support the Cancer Program at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, purchasing the best equipment and funding programs for cancer patients and their families. The walk can take place anytime between Oct. 8-17.
“I would just like to pass on my extreme gratitude to everyone who has donated to this cause, and to everyone who is participating in the walk,” said Cartwright. “When I first heard about this walk, I never thought it would go as far as reaching my childhood “home”. Cancer is, unfortunately, something that a lot of people deal with but I never thought it would be this close to me. And I never thought that a group of strangers would show their support in the way that they have. It is truly an amazing thing to be a part of, and I cannot express how supported this makes me feel.”
Donations to Team Hodgepodge can be made through the event page at http://events.hamiltonhealth.ca/site/ TR/Events.
Tammy Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent