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Across Canada runners strapped on their shoes on Sunday to take part in an annual fundraising event aimed at ending cancer.

The Canadian Cancer Society’s Run for the Cure has raised almost $500 million since it was first created in 1992. At this year’s Montreal event, organizers estimated they raised another $17 million.

Mei-Lin Yee was taking part because of a very personal connection. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and was given two years to live in 2008.

“Because of the fact I have a stage four diagnosis, we don’t use the word remission, we use the term ‘no evidence of disease,’” she said. “I have had no evidence of the disease for five years now.”

Isabelle Racicot lost her mother to breast cancer in 1985.

“If she had the same diagnosis today, she would have been a survivor,” she said.

Last year, the Run for the Cure raised %16 million for breast cancer research. One researcher taking part in the Montreal run discovered she had the disease last year.

“It was the most stressful period of my life,” said Marie-Noelle Seguin-Grignon. “I wasn’t feeling well, I wasn’t eating well. I wasn’t good at my job, too.”

While Seguin-Grignon is now in remission, she isn’t alone in her struggle with the disease. The federal government estimates more than 25,000 Canadian women get breast cancer every year, with a fifth of that number dying during the same period.