As Carolyn Putt filled out her application for the Kin’s Green Fighter Challenge, she paused at the space that asks about connections to cancer.
She thought about her little niece, Lilee-Jean Putt.
Just two years old, Lilee-Jean spent more than a year battling an aggressive brain tumour, going through a gruelling gamut of surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. MRIs showed the tumour shrinking, and her family thought she might beat the steep odds.
“We got used to hearing good news, but at her last MRI in January they found another tumour,” she said. “But they can’t operate or do chemo or radiation, and they said she’s not going to live much longer.”
Carolyn Putt finished the application and sent it off with one final thought.
“Whatever this challenge ends up being, it is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what my niece is going through.”
A few weeks later Carolyn got word that she would be Chilliwack’s representative in the challenge, joining 12 other contestants in a 13-week journey to a healthier lifestyle.
She’d also be helping raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. Again, she thought about Lilee-Jean.
“You feel helpless thinking there’s nothing you can do to change her situation,” Carolyn said. “But raising money that goes towards research and treatment, all we can really do is support organizations that are trying to make a difference.”
The Kin’s Green Fighter Challenge is staged by Kin’s Farm Market in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, Black Press, Cruise Experts Travel, CITAHealth, Body Comp Imaging and Canadian Tire.
Over 13 weeks, the contestants tackle a series of challenges.
Some are simple.
“The first one is to post a photo of myself to Facebook and try to get the most comments and likes,” Carolyn explained.
Some are fun.
“For St. Patrick’s Day, we’re supposed to create a menu for a full meal that is green in appearance,” she laughed. “I thought about using food colouring to create green macaroni and cheese, but that probably wouldn’t be too healthy, would it?”
Some are serious.
“We’ll be selling yellow daffodils for cancer awareness in April, and fruit baskets for Mother’s Day,” she said. “Next week, I’ll be taking pledges from anyone who wants to donate a dollar for every pound I lose, and all that money goes to the Canadian Cancer Society.”
Carolyn has high hopes heading into the challenges. If the idea is to establish a healthier lifestyle, she thinks she’s already on the right track.
Other than an ice-cream vice and a love of cereals, she considers herself a healthy eater. She already eats her fair share of fruits and veggies, and she’ll be provided free produce throughout the 13 weeks.
Carolyn also considers herself an active person who loves long hikes in the summer and morning workouts year round.
And yet, there is room for improvement. Last weekend, she and the other contestants took a battery of tests to assess their fitness levels.
The lightly-built 30-year-old figured she’d breeze through, but she was wrong.
“They did a full body scan looking at composition and bone density, and my percentage of body fat put me in the obese category,” Carolyn said. “That was disturbing. And also, my bone density was the worst out of the 13 competitors.”
So she’s got some goals.
Turn some fat into muscle.
Work on that bone density.
And raise $1,000 (hopefully more) for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Weekly prizes are up for grabs, and the grand prize is a cruise for two to a sunny destination. But for Carolyn, the real prize will be knowing she did something to help her niece.
Get more information online at kinsgreenfighters.com