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Nancy's Nightingales (l-r): Harriet Lyons, Joanne Katz, Louise Raber, Connie Botelho

The 12th annual Cancercare Manitoba Foundation Challenge for Life 20KM walk (or 200-minute workout) will be held in Assiniboine Park on Saturday, June 8, and several members of our Jewish community are – once again – among the leading fundraisers.
This year, the top-ranked “Jewish” team – as of last Wednesday – is Nancy’s Nightingales with over $11,000 raised as of last week. This year, Joanne Katz, one of the original team members is back – she was in Israel at this time last year – rejoining long time team members Connie Botelho, Harriet Lyons and Louise Raber. New this year is Rhonda Youell.




The six original “Nightingales” started walking for cancer 12 years ago in honour of a nurse named Nancy, a nurse who is a friend of Louise Raber. Nancy had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the time. (she has since recovered).
“We feel we owe it to her to keep the name,” Louise Raber says. “There are certainly other Nancys out there.”


Serratus Superstars (l-r): front row: Harriet Zimmer, Susan Remis, Martin Krawitz, Debby Brown, an enthusiastic Alex Zimmer, Rietta Floom, Raechel Floom, middle row: Gayle Marcus, Faren Bernstein, Susan Billinkoff, Fay-lynn Katz, Sharon Goszer-Tritt, Steven Tritt, Gail Thau back row: Jeff Itzkow, Lissy Neville, Cathy Moser, Monica Newman, Don Aronovitch, Steve Moscovitch, and in the background, Bernie Bellan - a Superstars wannabeeee!

Perennial fundraising dynamos Serratus Superstars have been walking the Challenge for Life since the Challenge inception in 2008, notes team captain Cathy Moser. “We have raised over $370,000.00 in those years - through donations, garage sales, concerts, and bake sales. This year we made $4000.00 at the bake sale, which took place on the Friday of the May long weekend.
“It is especially meaningful because we hold the sale at the Cancercare building on McDermot, and many benefactors of Cancercare services are happy to see us supporting them and they are happy to buy our baked goods.”
She adds that, while the team members have changed over the years, the commitment either  to the walk or the fundraising remains strong. “I started doing the walk after my mother passed away from pancreatic cancer,” Moser says. “The other original members started out as a group that used to get together once a week to exercise at Serratus Gym. The owner, Corwin Materuk, has been extremely supportive of our efforts, and always supports us generously with donations, promotion, and by coming to the finish line to stretch out our sore limbs”
Moser sees the effort as an investment. “We know that all of the money stays in Manitoba and is used to buy equipment, fund research, and maintain the amenities at Cancercare that either we or our loved ones may eventually need,” she says.
“We walk for those that can’t, and hope that those that can will join us. We love welcoming new members to our team.”
Serratus Superstars team members this year include - in addition to Cathy Moser and her husband Jeff Itzkow: Don Aronovitch, Faren Bernstein, Susan Billinkoff, Debby Brown, Rietta and Raechel Floom, Fay-lynn Katz, Martin Krawitz, Gayle Marcus, Steve Moscovitch, Lissy Neville, Monica Newman, Esther and Rick Penner, Randee Pollock, Susan Remis, Ruth Simkin, Gail Thau, Sharon Goszer-Tritt, Steven Tritt, Harriet and Alex Zimmer.
The Superstars’ goal this year is $50,000.

 Among individual participants from amidst our Jewish community, Team Schvesters’ Benji Harvey is in the top ten among all individual fundraisers – having personally raised close to $5,000 (as of last Wednesday). Team Schvesters – like Serratus Superstars, one of the original team - was founded by the “Greenfield girls”, Benjy Harvey and her sisters, Lesly Katz and Debby Lewis. Two of the sisters had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
This year, Harvey notes, her sisters are sitting out the Challenge for Life. In addition to Harvey, this year’s team consists of Kim Gray, Wendy Holm and Jody van de Vijsel.
“One of the team workout participants, Shannon Trachtenberg, lost her battle with cancer two months ago at the age of 28,’ Harvey says. “Our team is shrinking but our hearts are dedicated to striving to help eradicate this disease.”
Team Schvesters currently sits in third place among community teams. The team’s goal this year is to raise $10,000 and they are currently 70% of the way there with just over two weeks to go.

This is the 12th year of the Challenge for Life for Noah Palansky. When he founded his team, Kids Count, in 2008, after his mother, Naomi, had developed cancer, Palansky, now 23, was one of the youngest participants. Over the past decade, he and his younger sister, Lexi, and their supporters have raised over $800,000 for cancer research.
Kids Count team members this year, in addition to Palansky, are Adam, Amy, and Zachary Baron, and Naomi Kirshenblatt. The team’s goal is to raise $15,000 this year.
 The team is fundraising to honour the memory of Naomi and all others who’ve lost their life to cancer. “We believe that if we save even one life, and stop a single kid from going through what we did, then we’ll have done an immeasurable amount of good for the world. And I think that together, we’ve probably saved more than one,.” Palansky said. To support Kids Count, visit and search for “Kids Count”. One hundred percent  of the funds raised stay in Manitoba and help support our local community members in their fight against this horrible disease.


Jacob joggers

This is the third year for  Jacob Joggers. The team is dedicated to the memory of Ken Jacob who passed away from cancer in the fall of 2016. The team is led by Jacob’s sons, Sean, Jonathon, and Hart, Jonathan’s wife, Beth, and also includes Edward Lyons, Evan Roitenberg, Christie Thorsteinsson, Mara Lyons and Sheldon Zipursky.
“We have a bigger team this year,” says Hart Jacob. “So far, we have raised about $6,600.”
The Nepon Family is also back for another year. This year, Team Ghost Town Manitoba, consisting of siblings Adam, Dana, and Mara Nepon Pellettieri, is raising funds for cancer research in memory of their brother, Jonah, who lost his life to cancer four years ago. (Ghost Town Manitoba was the name of Jonah’s promotion company.)
“My entire family is usually at the event each year,” Adam Nepon says.
The team has raised close to $2,000 so far this year.
With the fundraising event still a few days off, there is still time for readers to donate. Dial up Cancercare Manitoba Foundation, click on Challenge for Life and enter the name of the individual or team you would like to support.

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