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Edward Moses walk raises thousands for cancer treatment

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CANTON — Approximately 350 people from around St. Lawrence County walked, ran and Zumbaed to raise money for local cancer-themed charities and organizations at the 34th annual Edward Moses Walk/Run For Life.

Kellie J. Hitchman, who co-chairs the event, said it was the first time Zumba has been included.

“We added Zumba this year to try and capitalize on its popularity and widen our audience for support,” she said.

A health fair also was included, featuring the organizations benefiting from the event.

“This is the second year for the health fair,” Ms. Hitchman said. “We basically bring in the programs we fund, so people working to raise the funds can see where their money is going.”

Proceeds from the walk are divided among the Center for Cancer Care at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, E.J. Noble Hospital, Gouverneur Business Women’s Breast Cancer Fund, Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley, Massena Memorial Hospital, Richard E. Winter Cancer Center, Ryan’s Wish Foundation, St. Lawrence County Cancer Services Program and St. Lawrence County Health Initiative.

Ms. Hitchman also said this year’s event is being used to launch the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund.

“We’ll continue to fund the programs we do now and we’re hoping to increase support for people with incidental expenses like getting back and forth to treatment,” she said.

She said the goal was to raise $75,000.

“Sometimes we raise more, sometimes we raise less,” she said, noting that in previous years the event has raised as much as $100,000.

Warren A. Dyke founded the walk 34 years ago. At that time, the walk, he said, didn’t even have a name.

It wasn’t until the second annual walk that the event became a tribute to Edward I. Moses, the Kinney Drugs president who had been diagnosed with cancer.

Mr. Dyke was serving on the American Cancer Society’s St. Lawrence County board of directors at the time.

“I tried to convince them for years that a walk/run would be a good thing and they finally told me that if I did all the work it was OK,” he recalled.

Mr. Dyke also explained that their first several walk/runs were almost like a relay, with participants from around the county running from one community to the next.

“It’s grown so much,” he said referring to the walk. “After today we will have raised a total of more than $1.25 million.”

Mr. Dyke said his initial involvement in the fight against cancer began after his brother, who was only 25, died from Hodgkin’s Disease. He also noted that his mother died from cancer when she was 83.

Ms. Hitchman said her family, too, has been hit by cancer but added her loved ones have beaten the disease.

Mr. Moses’s son Jim was in attendance at the walk with his son Alan.

“He had bone cancer and was too young. He never got to know his grandson and passed away when he was 62,” Mr. Moses said, referring to his father.

Mr. Moses also added this year’s walk was being held in memory of his mother, Joyce Moses, who died in the fall.

“The old-timers here will remember Mom used to say she was in charge of the weather,” he said. “Now she’s on the other end and there’s not a cloud in the sky.”

Many of the event’s other participants were also walking in memory or in honor of a loved one.

“We’re walking in memory of and dedication to the survivors and non-survivors in our families,” said Lisa J. Powers.

Ms. Powers said it was her first time participating in the walk.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and since the death of her husband and the realization my father wasn’t going to get better, I decided to walk this year,” Ms. Powers said, referring to her friend LouEllen Smithers’s husband and her father’s five-year battle with cancer.

Ms. Smithers said her husband, Ron, died from cancer in 2009.

“This is my second year,” she said. “I walk in honor of him and to help raise awareness.”

Kaylene A. Scott also was participating in her second Edward Moses Walk, but this year’s event was special because she designed the logo for the commemorative water bottles given to each participant.

She said she designed the logo as a project in her graphic communications class at Northwest Tech.

“It was a project that all of the classes did and mine got picked,” she said. “It’s cool because now I can put that in my portfolio.”

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