The Crazie Daizies: Running, walking and raising funds for breast cancer

The Crazie Daizies are a team of inspiring women, from all walks of life and who range in ages, from the Kitchener, Ontario region. They were officially established in 2004, when Pauline Tam, Kathleen Kwan and Heather MacDonald decided that they would participate in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer in Toronto. In 2002, they took up running together and successfully completed several 5km and 10km runs and eventually 3 half marathons. Running together for long distances is a real bonding experience. After successfully completing the challenge of the half marathons, they were looking for a new challenge that would also give something back to the community.


Today I'd like to share my very inspiring interview with the Daizies…


Where did the team name originate?

Our team name originally came from Pauline, Kathleen and Heather. When we ran on particularly cold or rainy days, we would often remark about how we shouldn't be braving such crazy weather conditions because we are 'delicate flowers'. When we signed up for the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, we decided on Crazy Daisies because it seemed a little crazy for such delicate flowers to be volunteering to walk 60kms! Because the team is made up of such unique individuals, the spelling of the name had to be as well.



What runs do the Crazie Daizies participate in?

The Crazie Daizies team was originally founded to participate in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer which is a 60km walk through the streets of Toronto to raise money for Breast Cancer research. After establishing our team name and website, we sometimes use it for other events that we participate in, for example Heather and Pauline participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure and the Terry Fox Run.


Why is the Terry Fox run so important to you to participate in?

The Terry Fox run has become a yearly event for us, and something that we now do without question. Terry Fox was an amazing person and his Marathon of Hope was such an inspiration to all Canadians. It is important to us to carry on his legacy and bring new people to participate in the run each year. We encourage friends to join us and bring their families out for a fun walk or run for a great cause. It is difficult to find anyone whose life hasn't been touched in some way by Cancer. We need to find a way to end the suffering and cure this disease.


How does participating in events for breast cancer inspire you?


From team member Margaret Reiss: "Doing this big event for breast cancer made me feel empowered. It made me feel like I could make a difference in finding a cure. It also made me feel thankful for the good health that I have and being able to participate. There is a certain helplessness that you feel when you hear someone tell you that they have breast cancer or that someone in their family has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I can't help but think that it could easily be me next. So, I have a choice, I can sit back and wait for it to happen to me or my mom or one of my friends and be devastated by the news … or I can get out there and raise money to find a cure. I can be part of the solution. I can make a difference. I can walk or run for those that are suffering and do something to try to help ease their pain. There is also a selfish part to participating in these events. The friendships that you build with your team members are priceless and the memories are something we will all treasure for the rest of our lives. You share stories with your team about your life and hear their stories. There is lots of time to hear the whole story and not the Coles notes version."


What is the atmosphere like during the runs/walks?

It is an atmosphere of unity, friendship and determination. There is an overwhelming feeling of positive energy in the air throughout the weekend. The mood changes as the weekend progresses. At the opening ceremonies you can almost taste the feeling of anticipation as the walkers are anxious to hit the pavement and a little wary that they may not be able to make it all the way through. The entire weekend is an exceptionally well run event. The opening ceremonies are a time of reflection, celebration and inspiration for the long walk ahead.


Every 4kms there is a rest station with food and medical supplies. These rest stations are run by amazing volunteers who dress up in costumes and raise the spirits of the walkers throughout their journey. Safety is taken very seriously as none of the streets in Toronto are closed for the walk. The volunteers and police that help the walkers cross intersections safely also help to boost spirits.  Throughout the route there are sweep vans that continuously drive past the walkers to make sure that everyone is feeling good. There is a lot of horn honking, screaming and cheering.


As mid-afternoon hits, energy fades. It is the walkers along the route that help each other out. Singing, joking and generally inspiring those around them to see past the tired muscles and pain and celebrate the journey. As we sometimes had to remind others, it isn't a race. It is a journey.


The closing ceremonies are something that I don't talk about with people that haven't done the walk. It is a special time and wouldn't want to ruin the surprise for anyone else that makes the journey to get there. It is well worth it. After so much togetherness, laughter and tears, it is very difficult to say good-bye to your team members at the end of the Sunday.



How much money did you raise during your last walk to raise money for breast cancer research?

  • 2004 – 3 of us raised $11,589.50 and the Weekend event total raised $14,000,000
  • 2005 – 4 of us raised $16,110.00 and the Weekend event total raised $16,000,000
  • 2006 – 8 of us raised $18,352.22 and the Weekend event total raised $17,200,000

Thank you so much to the Crazie Daizies for sharing their treasured memories, and your inspiration and hope with the readers of The Breast Site.



Posted by Susan Felbel on March 27,2007 at 7:35 PM

It's great to hear that you have such a great group. I have just finished all my treatments and am going onto my next stage to have reconstruction. I hope to be able to enter our run for women in May and also our walk for breast cancer in Oct. Keep up your good work I'm sure you have helped many people along the way.

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