For all their fathers and the men in their lives have done for them, Ottawa residents said thanks‚ at a Father's Day institution in the capital Sunday.
More than 1,300 people raised a record $354,672 -- up $75,000 from last year -- for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation through the Do It For Dad event at Carleton University Sunday.
Newly expanded to help fight all men's cancers, the money goes towards research, educational programs, reducing wait times for diagnosis and treatment, bringing care closer to home and to improve the qualify of life for patients and their families.
Participants have embraced the change, said foundation president and CEO Linda Eagen.
"There are other types of cancers affecting men in our community that require research and awareness building," Eagen said. "People were congratulating us for making that change."
Brian Kilrea couldn't say enough about the treatment he received here after being diagnosed with cancer several times.
"I‚ve been blessed with the research we've done," he said.
The general manager of the Ottawa 67s and Celebrity VIP Team member was first diagnosed with melanoma on his back 15 years ago. Five years later, he was in for a routine checkup when the doctor found melanoma on his leg. He had a third surgery nine years ago.
The walk is a Father's Day family tradition for Ottawa resident Mary Ellen Kelly, whose brother-in-law Patrick Walsh, was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and is now in remission.
"It's a good opportunity for us to raise some money for a very important cause," she said.
Not all stories had happy endings.
Last December, Doni White lost her husband, Andrew, after an 18-month battle with cancer.
"He was everything to our family, a good father, my best friend and a really good man," said White, who travelled from Brighton, Ontario to attend the event. "This is our first round at doing something positive. Next year, we hope to do even more."
NHL draft pick and the VIP team's honorary captain Erik Gudbranson wanted to raise awareness among young people.
"I think it's important for people to understand that it can possibly happen to you before then," he said.