This summer, the colour to look for is ‘pink’, particularly if it’s on a horse.
The Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta fundraising trek, Wild Pink Yonder, will be coming through Vauxhall on Wednesday, Aug. 17, with the Vauxhall Ag Society hosting them for the night at the local rodeo grounds, and the next step is for the town to start to pink-ify itself in the spirit of the ride.
“When the Ag Society said they would give them the rodeo grounds for the evening, so the horses and everyone could set up for a campsite, once they said that, that was the hardest part of it all,” said Margaret Plummtree, mayor of Vauxhall. “It does put us on the map, which is nice.”
Wild Pink Yonder is a breast cancer fundraiser that has been going for eight years, with its participants traveling on horseback from Stirling to Lamont this year to raise money for the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta.
“One out of every nine women will face breast cancer at some time during her life,” said Jane Hurl, founder and organizer of Wild Pink Yonder, who is a breast cancer survivor herself.
Every year, the famed Pink Trail takes a different route, with participants riding for as little as one day or doing the entire 23 community, 23-day ride.
The event’s organizers ask that everyone raises at least $100 per day they ride, but if they raise more, they could win prizes for being one of the top-ten fundraisers.
Organizers will provide meals, hay and feed for the horses and a place to camp, although you are expected to bring your own tent or other bedding.
This will be the last year for the 23-day ride, as a new format for the horse-back cancer fundraiser will be launched next year. But don’t worry, there will still be plenty of riding to be had.
“I do the whole thing every year, I have people do the whole thing once and think, ‘Holy cow, that nearly killed me,” said Hurl, adding that she does the entire route every year and is getting a little tired herself.
“Wild Pink Yonder will carry on, it just won’t be this way.”
Hurl was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, along with her step-daughter, who would succumb to the disease. After recovering, Hurl wanted to find a way to “give back to the system” that treated her so well while she was undergoing her treatment. As she was a self-described “horse-nut”, she decided to host a ride.
“I didn’t want to participate in a walk or a run, mostly because I can’t walk very far or run very well, but I love horses. And so I decided that this is what I would do.”
Over the past seven years, Wild Pink Yonder has raised $804,532.31 for CRINA, making it the highest-grossing horseback fundraiser for cancer research in Alberta.
She wanted to give the money raised during the ride to CRINA, because it wasn’t just a bunch of oncologists studying cancer.
“These are researchers in pharmacy and agriculture. And they’re looking for ways of getting better outcomes for people who have cancer, and they’re looking for ways to keep people from getting cancer in the first place,” said Hurl.
“But they are just not oncologists; these are researchers in every aspect of life.”
Currently, Vauxhall council is looking for someone to host a supper for when the Wild Pink Yonder riders arrive in town.
For more information on the ride, visit http://www.wildpinkyonder.com.