Why the Grind is important …..to me

Giants Head Grind is a great day and a great success because of each and everyone of you that come out and join us each year as a participant, volunteer or donor. Everyone that participates does so for their own reasons and has their own distinct story. It is a day dedicated to an important cause and it is raising funds to support that cause, Colorectal Cancer  and to preserve an important landmark in our community our  Giants Head Mountain.

However for me the Grind will always be about Chris. For me it is the hope that something good can be built out of something so tragic. I carry him with me every single day and I will for the rest of my life but he is especially close to me in May as we prepare for the race and the anniversary of of when he left us. He will be forever in my heart, he will be forever in my prayers, he will remain forever young……..

Remembering you today and always Chris….

The following  article was originally published in the Summerland Review, by Ellen Walker-Matthews.

Colorectal Cancer; it’s not a subject that comes up very frequently at dinner parties unless of course you are a visitor in our home.  In 2013, after an 11-month battle, our 29-year-old son Chris lost his life to colon cancer. He was by many accounts an unlikely candidate, otherwise healthy and fit, an avid runner and cyclist, triathlete, two-time Ironman finisher, and the list goes on. Yet despite all of this, one a rainy day in 2012 at Vancouver General Hospital we were hearing a doctor saying “stage 4 metastatic colon cancer” and wondering how this could have happened.

We have come to learn this news is being delivered to far too many families every year in Canada and throughout North America as colorectal cancers are the 2nd and 3rd leading cause of death from cancer in men and women respectively. More over while the incidents of this form of cancer are showing signs of declining in individuals over 50 years of age they are increasing in those that are younger; a fact that is both alarming and concerning.

Through the efforts of Summerland Rotary, the District of Summerland, a committed group of volunteers and spurred on by those of us that knew and loved Chris, the Giants Head Grind was started in May of 2014 to elevate awareness of this deadly disease.  Now in its fourth year the event continues to attract over 400 individuals of all ages who walk, run and cycle their way from Peach Orchard Park on Lake Okanagan to the top of Giants Head Mountain. Together with dedicated volunteers and sponsors, who help to make the race a reality, we are literally “kicking butt” raising awareness and raising funds.

We have also forged a relationship with the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada and are pleased to be welcoming their Founder and CEO Barry Stein, himself a survivor, to this year’s event.  Diagnosed in his early 30’s he ultimately sought treatment in the United States which saved his life, but he vowed to bring about change in Canada. His focus is threefold: Awareness, Advocacy and Education around a disease that is preventable, treatable and beatable.  Their most recent initiative “Never Too Young” puts a focus on the issue increased incidents in young people highlighting the need for better access to screening and treatments.

Healthy and active lifestyles are a cornerstone to cancer prevention which is why a portion of the funds raised at the Giants Head Grind are also being used to improve the trails on Giants Head Mountain. Leading the way on this initiative is The District of Summerland who together with Summerland Rotary are developing a mountain master plan followed by a phased implementation of the recommendations. In addition, recent funding from Rotary International and the Provincial Liberals are helping to further augment this work.

Collectively our goals will help to ensure the long term health of our mountain while providing a spectacular location for outdoor recreation that residents and visitors can enjoy for years to come.

A lot has been accomplished in a few short years but there is so much more to be done.  The Giants Head Grind is an event that has been embraced and supported by the community something we are most grateful for.  Whether you participate, volunteer, sponsor or cheer on those that are making the climb, your support of this cause that touches so many lives, is tremendously appreciated.

Miracles Do Happen When We Conquer the Giant… Together at the 4th Annual Giants Head Grind – Christopher Walker Memorial Race on Saturday May 20th, 2017.

We hope you will register or donate now!

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Canadian Colorectal Cancer Association (CCAC), Canadians across the country now recognize the month of March as “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” to honor all those affected by colorectal cancer.

According to the CCAC:

“Last year alone, an estimated 26,100 Canadians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. One in 12 men and one in 14 women are expected to develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.

Despite the fact that colorectal cancer is Preventable, Treatable, and Beatable, it remains the second leading cancer killer in our nation. It does not discriminate against sex nor age. In past generations it was a disease more commonly found in individuals 50 years and over. However, statistics now show that more young people are being diagnosed, particularly those with Lynch syndrome.”

Although Giants Head Grind isn’t until May 20 this year, we wanted to honor National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by extending our Early Bird Draw to March 30!

Register for the Giants Head Grind before midnight, Friday, March 31 and you’ll be entered to win:

*Must be registered for this the 2017 Giants Head Grind race by midnight March 31 to be entered to win. No cash value. Reservations must be made directly with the Fairmont Chateau Whistler or Scandinave Spa and some restrictions apply.

Register now!

Check out the 2016 Race Highlight Video!

Once again, a big thank you goes out to Allen Jones and Ace Films for so perfectly capturing the feeling of inspiration and community at last year’s Giants Head Grind.

If you joined us for the 2016 race in Summerland, we hope this will remind you of the incredible fun you had! If you have yet to join us, we hope this short video will inspire you enough to make 2017 your year. You’ll be supporting a great cause and having some amazing fun along the way.

Registration is now open through to May 1, 2017. It will sell out, so register soon!

Pictures actually do tell the whole story

From a modest drizzle in the morning to perfect race temperatures by the time the race commenced at 1:00 p.m.  the photos from this years Giants Head Grind – Christopher Walker Memorial Race really tell the full story.  While it was certainly a cooler day than in 2015 the weather was a welcome relief for all that climbed the Giant. To finish the day a double rainbow…..

Check all of this years photos in our photo gallery http://giantsheadgrind.ca/event-gallery/

 

The 2016 Results are in!

Congratulations to all of the participants and volunteers at the 3rd Annual Giants Head Grind – Christopher Walker Memorial Race. It was an amazing day, and while we were a bit nervous for rain, the sun came out and we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. We even hosted our very first “Bike the Grind” event, with 26 racers (19 of whom also “Hiked the Grind” just a few short hours later!).

We are pleased to announce that this year’s race results are now live!

The 2016 First Place Male and Female BIKE Racers are:
  • Andrew Funamoto (M) 23:39
  • Krista Matthews (F) 27:28
The 2016 First Place Male and Female HIKE Racers are:
  • Jason Curran (M) 34:57
  • Erin Trainer (F) 39:59

Congratulations again to everyone who participated. And THANK YOU to all the amazing sponsors and volunteers that make this event the success that it is.

To check out the full list of results: giantsheadgrind.ca/2016-results

Tea For A Cause does 3 teas for Our Cause!

We are thrilled to be working with Tea For A Cause who have created three great teas for “Our Cause”…..The Giants Head Grind

The Netminder – Black Tea

  • A little nettle goes along way to “block that puck”. This is not just gold in the net but a perfect blend to keep out the bad and help all the good in your body. Whether you drink this to start the day or finish it – this tea is your best “defence”.

Giants Head Green – Green Tea

  • What better way kick yourself into high gear and get ready to make the big climb then with a refreshing green tea packed full of peach, pomegranate and mint! Don’t just go half way….you deserve the rewards at the top!

Walker’s Toddler’s – Rooibos Tea

  • You might just lose yourself in the amazing flavours that are at work in this blend. Walker’s Toddler Tea is the perfect combination of flavours for the the child within us and an equally great drink for the children around us…make sure to keep an eye on those little people…you don’t want them to toddle off.

To order your Tea and contribute to the Giants Head Grind go to: teaforacause.ca/3rd-annual-giants-head-grind

Registered Grind Participants to receive Day Pass to PGA Event Kelowna

We have some great news for anyone registered for this years Giants Head Grind. Hugh Vassos tournament director for the Inaugural Mackenzie PGA tournament coming to Kelowna this June is giving each one of our race participants a compliment Day Pass to the June Event….Here is the note that we received from Hugh tonight.

The inaugural Mackenzie Tour PGA TOUR Canada GolfBC Championship is coming to Gallagher’s Canyon June 9th – 12th. We are proud to sponsor the Giants Head Grind by offering one complimentary Day Pass to each participant. Thank you for supporting this great event and worthy cause. Hopefully you can take some time to enjoy watching professional golf at the GolfBC Championship happening just a few short weeks following the Grind.

Hugh Vassos
Tournament Director

Another great reason to register for this year Giants Head Grind – Christopher Walker Memorial Race

Long an integral part of British Columbia’s rich golfing landscape, the Okanagan Valley now has its own professional tournament.
vancouversun.com|By ,Brad Ziemer

Dairy Farmers Team up with the Canadian Colorectal Association of Canada

The Dairy Farmers of Canada have teamed up with the  Colorectal  Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) to promote healthy balanced diets with their new “Get Enough” App.  The really outstanding new is that when you download this app and begin to use it the Dairy Farmers will contribute $1.00 to  Colorectal  Cancer Association of Canada every day you utilize the app. What have you got to loose; it is a tremendous way for you to stay healthy and help you make sure you are eating the right foods while at the same time giving back to a very important cause.

For more information on the program go to GET ENOUGH and start using the app today.

Quote from the GET ENOUGH Website

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in Canada. Colorectal cancer is also one of the most preventable types of cancer.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, the key factors in preventing colorectal cancer are leading an active life, eating well, cutting down on alcohol, and not smoking.

Whole grains, pulses, vegetables, and fruits contain fibre, which keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Experts also recommend limiting your intake of processed meats as these have been shown to increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

A balanced diet composed of a variety of nutritious foods is an important part of maintaining good health. Canada’s Food Guide recommends an intake of 2-4 servings of Milk & Alternatives, including 500 ml of milk each day. 

Giants Head Grind has bold new T-Shirt this year!

Thanks to my wonderful neices Karen Brookman and Jennifer Brookman the T-Shirt at this years Giants Head Grind will be one that you won’t want to miss out on. Karen had a very unique concept which Jennifer assisted with tweaking and the result is magic…..
Want to see and own this years t-shirt…Join us May 21st for the 3rd Annual Giants Head Grind – Christopher Walker Memorial Race go to giantsheadgrind.com to register.

“Miracles Happen when we Conquer the Giant”

Race Organized in Walker’s Memory

PrintOn Thursday, February 25, Carla McLeod of the Summerland Review, sat down with Ellen Walker-Matthews to discuss the history of the Giants Head Grind – Christopher Walker Memorial Race. We are honoured and thrilled with the end result and want to thank Carla and the Summerland Review for taking the time to tell this story in such a poignant and thoughtful manner.

“He would not be at all pleased for me to waste my life when he so desperately wanted to continue living his.”

We encourage you to read the full story here: Summerland Review, February 25, 2016, page 8.

But this is only our story. As we’ve learned over the past 3-years, every participant has their own story, and we want to hear it.

Comment below or email us and share with us why you’re planning to “Conquer the Giant” this year.