Community Kids Get Cancer Too: Run Strong Like Sloane at the Servus Calgary...

    Kids Get Cancer Too: Run Strong Like Sloane at the Servus Calgary Marathon


    Last May, the weekend of the 2023 Servus Calgary Marathon to be exact, my then 5-year-old daughter who was registered to run the kids race with her sister, was instead admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital’s oncology unit and diagnosed with high risk stage 4 cancer.

    A word no parent wants to hear beside their child’s name.

    Since then, I’ve learned more about childhood cancer than I ever hoped to know—the good (if there is any good), the bad and the ugly. One of the “ugly” things about childhood cancer, besides the obvious, is the lack of funding in this space. The number fluctuates every year, but as of 2023 only seven per cent of funding for cancer research in Canada goes to pediatrics.

    What’s even uglier about that statistic is that although pediatric cancer is considered “rare,” it is the number one cause of death by disease in kids. 

    That said, like so many other families, I’ve been on a mission to raise awareness for childhood cancer. With a love for running and the coincidence around the timing of Sloane’s diagnosis last year and the Calgary Marathon, I decided to start a run team. Our goal was to raise awareness and money for the new Riddell Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy in Calgary, a top-of-the-line facility that has promised to dedicate resources to pediatric research—an area that’s often overlooked. 

    When registrations opened up in late 2023 for the 2024 run, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to start a Strong Like Sloane run team—a team I thought would be made up of twenty-five close friends and family.

    Over the last five months, I’ve watched the team grow to 134 runners (as of March 7) and the fundraising goal continues to grow. We’re now at just under $22,000 with a goal of $30,000 and with three months to go until race day, I’m confident we can do more.

    As one of the largest running events in Canada, I knew the Calgary Marathon was the perfect vehicle for driving awareness. My goal was never as much about fundraising as it was around having a large team, all wearing “Kids Get Cancer Too” shirts, to spread the word and create some buzz. 

    Maureen McDonald, Calgary Marathon’s director of running experience confirmed that team Strong Like Sloane is the largest run team the event has seen since 2018.  

    But the participation doesn’t start and stop in Calgary. Virtual runners are welcome to register and join the team to raise awareness across Canada. Or non-runners can help spread awareness by sharing our teams’ posts and donation links on social media (follow @therealclairem).

    I’ve got big goals for pediatric cancer awareness and having the support of Run Calgary and the Calgary Marathon is incredibly heartwarming. In my experience, the running community has always been very supportive and it’s nice to see they are looking out for one of their own.

    This is just the beginning.

    We can do better for these kids. For our future.

    If you’re interested in joining the team or donating please visit:

    Let’s all run Strong Like Sloane, and use our running to help.