“Every year reminds me of why this cause is so important,” says Dal nursing student and long-time Run for the Cure participant Denyne Park.
And this past year was a stellar one for Ms. Park, as she helped raise almost $11,000 for breast cancer research and took home two of the top awards from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF)’s post-secondary challenge.
For the 2011 Run for the Cure campaign, the CBCF introduced a post-secondary challenge to encourage greater student participation and create a friendly fundraising competition between post-secondary institutions across Canada.
In total, 257 teams from 66 institutions participated in the challenge. As captain of the Dal nursing team, Ms. Park won the CIBC Education Award for being one of the top 15 online fundraisers, as well as a Team Captain Leadership Award for raising the most funds in Atlantic Canada.
A fundraising marathon
This was CIBC’s 15th year as a title sponsor of Run for the Cure, and the bank also joined in partnership with the CBCF for the post-secondary challenge. Fifteen CIBC education awards of $10,000 each were presented across the country in order to assist with post-secondary education.
Ms. Park received her awards at a special presentation last Thursday. Dalhousie President Tom Traves was present for the event and said, “I love stories about when our students go the extra mile and I love it when they do it for the community.”
Run for the Cure director Sherri Robbins said that Ms. Park’s “enthusiasm and commitment for the project were contagious.”
The Dal nursing team, consisting of over 80 participants, raised $10,986.50 of the nearly $470,000 national total. Ms. Park raised more than $2,700 through her individual fundraising efforts alone, turning to bottle drives when she thought she was losing her position among the top 10 fundraisers.
A family matter; a nationwide cause
At the award presentation, she thanked her mother, Delia, for helping clean bottles and cans and for driving them to the depot, “even though it made her car smell like a brewery.”
Ms. Park’s mom was a major reason for her dedication to Run for the Cure – Delia recently had precancerous cells removed from her breast.
“This just solidified my belief that this was such a rampant, emotionally-charged disease and added fuel to the fire that was my commitment to the [CBCF],” says Ms. Park.
She also acknowledged the support of her twin, Danya Park, who updated a large Facebook community on her sister’s fundraising efforts. Ms. Park never dreamed of being Atlantic Canada’s top post-secondary fundraiser and says “it was a great surprise and an absolute honour” to win the awards.
A natural leader
At Dalhousie, Ms. Park is the co-vice president of community, communications & professional development for the School of Nursing. Currently in her third year, she plans to work as a registered nurse in Halifax after graduation before going on to obtain a Masters of Nursing.
Dr. Patricia Sullivan, director of Dal's nursing school, describes Ms. Park as “a quiet but very effective leader in the School of Nursing.”
Ms. Park shares credit with her motivated team members. “It was great to feel like we were part of something more than just Dal nursing. We were part of a nationwide competition, and we were in it to win it.”
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