Why Run for the Cure?

22 01 2015

I had the honour to join my husband and his work colleagues to Run for the Cure in Victoria, BC, Canada.   Here’s a quick review together with photographs to celebrate our day.  If you missed joining or sponsoring this event, I hope you will join us next year!

“Since all of us have women in our lives, we should feel the need to find the cure.  And remember, men may get breast cancer too.  It affects all of us.”   

Each year thousands of Canadians participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC “Run for the Cure” to help raise funds for important research to help beat this disease.  The Foundation has funded $300 million in breast cancer research, health promotion, advocacy, education and awareness programs since 1986.   It’s therefore great to report that philanthropy is alive and kicking in British Columbia as tens of thousands joined the effort to raise more funding ($9 Million in Victoria alone!) and participate in the 2014 run around the University of Victory grounds.   This included the Hewlett Packard Victoria office that fielded a twenty-five person strong team thus beating their own record for attendance.   Family members young and old joined HP Victoria staff in the run (jog or walk), whereas across Canada more than 150 HP employees, family members and friends participated. HP VictoriaTeam HP raised a total of $13,124 in donations for this very worthwhile cause. Way to go Team HP!

We all thank Bonnie Gunderson and Amanda Gray who performed a great job coordinating HP’s participation.  In addition they arranged team shirts and generally kept up the drumbeat to get everyone to get involved and pumped for the day. The friendly rivalry of “Cowtowners” (Calgary) vs “Islanders” (Victoria), kept the team motivated.   A sea of pink clothed people greeted the team arriving to collect their HP Run for the Cure T-shirts.

Some participants had definitely gone to town: supporting pink wigs, pink hats, pink dresses and tutus. Some even extended the branding to their dogs and baby pushchairs. A personal favourite were the local fire-fighter team all clothed in pink jump suits.   An option of 1 km or 5 km was available for those joining this “fun run” and serious runners were definitely out in force. Likewise people with walking sticks, wheelchairs and those walking with young and old did the event organisers proud.

Our own, Ross Kelleway achieved a respectful 29 minute run, though 3 minutes short of his typically best run effort. Clearly valuable early minutes were lost as the dense crowd could only shuffle forward as runners, joggers, walkers and those pushing strollers all battled to push forward and commence the race. One of the youngest members in the HP team, was Richard Arthur’s 11 year old son, Edouard, who achieved an impressive 38 minute result – his first 5 km run, ever and now hooked to take up running.

Everyone participating had a reason and a story to share. Many participants were sporting labels on their back to “advertise” why they were running and raising funds for Breast Cancer Research. It brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye to read the many tributes being sported such as “I’m running for my Mom”. In 2014, it is estimated that 24,400 women and 210 men in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and that 5,000 women and 60 men will die from the disease.  

Morale was kept high with live music played at different points along the route. Likewise volunteers, strategically placed along the route, cheered and applauded all the participants.   As runners and walkers approached the first 2 km marker the unmistakable sound of the bagpipes could be heard and this definitely helped flagging runners to pick up the pace.  A great feeling of relief washed over participants as they reached a “water stop” point and beyond at the final 1 km leg. Everyone participating enjoyed the job of running under the End banner to cheers, waves and well done greetings.

The top team fund raisers in Victoria were Brentwood Busts Cancer who earned $12,727.88 from their sponsors whilst FooB Fighters raised $10,899.21.   Hats off to the the top individual fund raiser who was Kirsten Petersen who accumulated an amazing $9,537.10

The HP team members were thrilled with their efforts. The sun shone early in the race but rolling clouds provided a much appreciate blanket of “coolness” for the sweaty runners effort. All in all a fun morning activity for an important fund raising event. The funding will allow important research, education and advocacy initiatives to be put in place in the coming year.

So was it worthwhile for the HP team, Victoria?  You bet. On top of all of that, we beat the Cowtowners…Yeah!

See you again next year!  P1070726





Queen’s Sci ’87, R & B band Swollen Members, still rocking

13 11 2012

Queens’s Sci 87 Swollen Members Reunion Gig Review 27 October 2012

Back in the fall of 1983 who would have thought that a group of spotty,

testosterone fired youth studying engineering degrees, at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada, would not only build

a reputable Rhythm & Blues band at university, but still be playing almost

30 years later in 2012?  The band added glamour and beauty by recruiting

various female students (including at one point, the now famous CNN news

journalist, Ashleigh Banfield).  Their contribution added depth to the vocal

delivery and sound.

Well that’s exactly what happened with the amusingly named Swollen Members, the Queen’s university Science ’87 R  &B band.   At Queen’s, Applied Science is the Engineering program, which at the time counted around 400 students in its various undergraduate disciplines.

Formed by student Jeff Arsenault (Engineering Physics 87, M.Sc. Electrical 89), this band has indeed been rocking to dance floors with a loyal fan base in pubs of Kingston, Ontario for all those years.   Their winning formula drew from The Blues Brother’s reverence of classic R&B music:  familiar feel good songs, classic themes and a modern touch; presented by a front man combining Bob Marley’s unifying warmth and James Brown’s showmanship.

October 2012 marked 25 years since graduating and this group’s homecoming was nothing short of pure energy, magic and fabulous music that rocked the socks off all attendees.  Clark Hall Pub was packed to maximum capacity as 150 alumni returned once more to their hallowed stomping ground to share one more beer and re-live their lost, forgotten youth.

Certainly, nothing beats the R&B sound of a band with a full horn section, backing singers, magic keys and a rock solid rhythm section. Top it off with vocals led by the inimitable Jeff Arsenault and you know you have a recipe for success.

Over the years, the group has also played at various pubs and clubs in Kingston and the venerable Lee’s Palace, Toronto, Ontario; Gaensbauer’s Cottage, Peterborough, on the shores of lake Ontario and even Victoria Island, Ottawa.  Residents of Stormont Avenue, in Kingston’s Strathcona Park, are familiar with the hoots and hollers of this R&B band, as they rehearse every five years or so in the basement of the lead guitarist’s mother’s home.

To mark the 25th Faux-Cumming Tour or rather the Science ’87 reunion, bandleader and lead vocal, Jeff Arsenault composed a soul-searching ballad called Clark Hall Blues.  This ten-minute song rolled out the history of the band and the Science year that spawned it.  As everyone swayed and digested the lyrics there were few dry eyes left in the room.

The show commenced with a slide show of highlights over the past 29 years and the nine piece strong band entered the stage to the music of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” (the 2001 Space Odyssey theme).

Beyond the new composition, the band featured their classic repertoire with the Blues Brothers styled introduction and “Gimme Some Lovin” by Booker T and the MGs and moved quickly to R & B, Blues and Rock favourites such as Midnight Hour, Chain of Fools, Doin’ it right, Green Onions, and Brown Sugar.  In the other Swollen Member original, lead guitarist and composer Rich Arthur belted out “Psycho Cleaner.”  This song had been inspired by his time studying at Macintosh Corry Hall.   This R&B song finishes with a segment of the Talking Head’s “Pyscho Killer” – a popular song in the 80’s with the entire audience joining “fa, fa, fa!” in the closing.  After all, this was a party that has been repeated many times over the years and most attendees know the words, perhaps better than the band.

Allowing the band a well-earned mid-show rest, the Manager of Clark Hall announced that the band had raised just over 1000 dollars, from ticket sales, for the “Make a Wish” Kids Charity in Kingston.  Quick thinking leader, Jeff Arsenault, invited the willing pub manager and bar staff to join him on stage to help raise further dollars.  All in the name of a good cause the lads made a show for the ladies in doffing their shirts to receive their new Swollen Members t-shirts while women lined up to offer “tips”, with a few cheekily slipping their notes into the top of the youth’s trousers.   Two hundred dollars more were raised for this worthwhile charity.

The party continued with a final encore set commencing at 2.00 am.  The band realizing that the end was nigh, finally closed with a set of familiar songs such as No Woman No Cry, Johnny B Goode, Jailhouse Rock, Devil in the Blue Dress, and Should I Stay or Should I go, before declaring they were out of material at 2.35 am!

So who will be back in five years time?  Time will tell, but in the meanwhile here is the insider-potted history on how it all began and the low down on who’s who in the Sci ’87 Swollen Members:

Swollen Members

Back row: Left to Right: Mike Leipe, Chris Catterall, Roger Shirt, Richard Woodruff, Alan Gaensbauer

Front row: Maribeth Casey, Richard Arthur, Jeff Arsenault, KimPerrin.

The low down on who’s who in the Sci ’87 Swollen Members follows in new report due 14 November 2012.

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Early Learner Picture book to help make reading fun and assist Orangutan Charities

9 09 2012

8 September 2012.  In the week that will celebrate International Literacy Week and also see the British royal couple, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visit the largest remaining rainforest in Borneo, children’s author, Sandra Arthur will release her latest early learner picture book, Crocodile Attack, from her series: Radio Ron’s Postcards from Borneo.

Crocodile Attack features Borneo’s rainforest as its backdrop for the curious story of “Radio Ron” (a Royal Air Force Radio Technician) who takes a journey with Dayak tribes-people.  This is a vivid, fun and thought-provoking adventure book for children under nine years that is also proving popular with children who are learning English as a second language.  The story is a work of fiction, but was written as a tribute to the author’s father, who was with the British Royal Air Force in Borneo during the mid 1960’s.

This humorous picture book, illustrated by British artist Lisa Williams, will appeal to all children, young and old.  At the same time, readers will learn interesting facts about the endangered orang utans (orang-utans) of Borneo.  The book is completed with environmental information and parent and educator notes, for a lively reading and educational experience.   Whilst the story is fiction, the background to the light-hearted story is based on historical events.

As children develop their own reading skills they can catch up on the adventures of “Radio Ron” in a junior fiction book, Cpl Ron’s Borneo Warrior Rescue, that has received accolades worldwide.

Sandra commented, “As book lovers around the world celebrate International Literacy Day I hope that my book will be picked up by parents and educators in their quest to help children develop a passion for books.  Learning to read is one of the biggest milestones young children face.  By offering a fun approach to early reading practice, I hope my work may encourage a life long love affair with reading and books (whether on an electronic screen or paper).   I’m delighted to say that my Radio Ron stories are already known around the globe via a great project called Educate Earth (see note below).

My book may be a young child’s first introduction to environmental issues.  I believe that children who learn about environmental issues will become more conservation-conscious, develop empathy for such issues, and grow up to become informed adults.”

This book also includes games, puzzles and suggested classroom activities. The story offers many of the high frequency words children learn between ages five to nine. There are also a number of “word builders” to help children increase their vocabulary.

Lisa Williams remarked, “I think this book offers young children a great way to discover a little about the oldest rainforest in the world.  I had great fun drawing the images and developing the games.  I have learnt so much about orang-utans and hope teachers and parents will use this material to engage and inform their children whilst having fun learning to read.”

This new book is now available on lulu.com as a paperback, hardcover, ebook (pdf) and later on iTunes as a special ebook with voice-over and music for an upbeat reading experience.

Sales of this book will also support Orang-utan Charities

Why help the orang-utans?

Due entirely to human activity, the population of orang-utans in  Borneo is now only 12% of what it was less than a century ago.  Due to logging and palm oil production these great apes are losing their natural habitat and could face extinction in the wild by 2022.

Orang-utans are known as keystone species and extremely important in retaining the biodiversity within the Borneo rainforest.

When a keystone species decline or they completely disappear, the survival and abundance of many other species in that ecosystem are negatively impacted.  Their protection is vital to the overall health of the lowland forest ecosystem in which they thrive. In contrast, the vitality of the orang-utan population will only flourish if their forest home is kept undisturbed and intact.

How is Sandra Arthur’s Radio Ron Postcards from Borneo helping to educate people who can’t normally afford to buy their own books?

An Australian entrepreneur selected Radio Ron’s Postcard from Borneo to be part of a new educational DVD for distribution to families around the globe.

Called “Educate Earth” a group of education clips from YouTube (with author permission) and other sources was compiled onto a DVD that was supplied to impoverished communities in Kisii in Kenya, Adum-Kumasi in Ghana and Vanuatu, an island is the South Pacific. Other locations will be added over time.

The hope of this project is that wherever there is access to a portable dvd player, laptop or TV (such as in a school, hospital, health centre, doctors waiting rooms etc) individuals can watch and secure an education without even attending school. Many poor people in these regions cannot afford an education.

Educate Earth DVDs were shared with parents to help them educate their children, if they cannot afford to send them to school.  At the same time, the range of stories included on the DVD are equally entertaining for adults who may have missed out on schooling and thus can learn by watching them with their children.

How will Literacy Week will be supported by Sandra Arthur?

Sandra Arthur has planned a series themed readings at local schools, bookshops and kids clubs in the south of France, Kingston ON, Canada and potentially UK (to be announced) not only in during literacy week but throughout the fall period.

Where can you preview the Radio Ron’s series of books?

Link to lulu’s website here – the title is available as paperback, hard cover, ebook and epub with audio.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SandraArthurBooks

 

What is International Literacy Week

International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs.  More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Why 8 September?

In September 1966 the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy was held in Tehran, Iran. September 8, the opening date of the conference, was proclaimed International Literacy Day. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inaugurated its official observance of International Literacy Day in 1967.

Coinciding with the beginning of a new school year in many countries, International Literacy Day is an ideal time to recognize the role literacy plays in everyone’s life. A growing number of International Reading Association Honour Councils involve their members and communities in activities at the state and provincial levels. Many national affiliates celebrate the day by presenting awards or organizing events. Classroom teachers, librarians, clubs, and communities use this unique day to create and further literacy action and partnerships

To find out more about International Literacy Day, visit UNESCO at www.unesco.organd the International Reading Association at http://www.reading.org.

For materials to help you celebrate International Literacy Day, visit the

International Literacy Day page at http://www.reading.org.