For Paula Krats, human resources manager at our Long Harbour Processing Plant in Newfoundland and Labrador, flying from St. John’s to Orlando in early January and racing in Disney’s Dopey Challenge—a total of more than 78 kilometres—simply wasn’t enough. Krats wanted a higher purpose.
So she and five former colleagues from Labrador City decided to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, in honour of Keith Whiteway, who works as a condition monitoring specialist at our Long Harbour Processing Plant, and who is currently fighting myeloma, or cancer of the plasma cells.
“We called our team Keith’s Magic and together we raised $25,000,” said Krats, who has dealt with cancer numerous times in her family.
Over four days, she ran a five-kilometre race, followed by a 10-kilometre race, then a half marathon (that’s 21 kilometres) and for good measure, on the fourth day, a full 42-kilomtre marathon while her team members completed the half marathon.
“It was so much fun,” said Krats. “I got to run through Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Wild World of Sports, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom; people were lined up cheering us on and we could stop and take pictures with Disney characters along the way.”
While thousands of people were out to cheer on the runners, possibly one of the most excited was Whiteway himself, who only got clearance from his doctor to fly to Florida in late December.
“It was a bit overwhelming when I heard about the fundraising they were doing,” said Whiteway, who is on leave from his job while receiving medical treatment and attended the races with his wife. “But it felt pretty great to watch them cross the finish line.”
Krats, 45, only started running two years ago after being a dedicated walker to stay fit and relieve stress. Eventually she ratcheted up her speed, and in October 2014, ran her first marathon (in Ottawa) raising $7,700 towards new equipment for the hospital in Labrador City where she lived with her husband and five children until last year.
Back from Orlando for just a few short weeks, Krats is already training and looking forward to travelling to Toronto in May for another 42-kilometre race. Her goal is to complete three full marathons in 2016 and run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society again this fall.
Want to learn more about Leukemia and Lymphoma? Click here.4