Trotting for a cure: New P.E.I. event launches to fight breast cancer

On July 27, a new event in support of breast cancer will ride into the racetrack with the goal of raising over $10,000 for the P.E.I. cancer society. 

Harness the Hope brings together horse racing and fundraising

Organizers say this will be the first annual event (Harness The Hope PEI/Facebook)

Red Shores Charlottetown is about to get painted another colour — pink.

On July 27, a new event in support of breast cancer research will ride onto the track with the goal of raising over $10,000 for the P.E.I. cancer society.

Harness the Hope began 13 years ago in London, Ont., by Doreen Dustin — a breast cancer survivor and the wife of horseman Greg Dustin. That event inspired P.E.I. organizers.

Michelle MacAulay, a member of the organizing committee, said organizers were thinking P.E.I. has such a big harness racing industry and figured they could make it work on the Island. 

So they approached the Dustin family and got the green light, and began planning the event.

"One of the exciting races we have [are] our all-female horses and female drivers," said MacAulay. "So you're going to definitely know it's all about breast cancer and women and raising some funds for breast cancer."

More ways to win

MacAulay said the group has already raised some money by selling all 12 sponsored blankets that the horses are presented with at each race, as well as silent auction donations.  And she said there are other special ways for the audience to donate and win prizes.

Organizer Michelle MacAulay hopes to spread the event to Summerside next year. (Matt Rainnie/CBC )

"That night there'll be keys sold for $20 among the crowd there and they have a chance to open one of the five key sponsor boxes which each one of those are valued at a thousand dollars," she said.

All of the money will go to the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Cancer Society and go toward breast cancer research. 

One of the P.E.I. horse owners, Bruce Wood, has also been participating by selling shares in his horse Roll With It Harry — a 12-year-old stallion.

"He came up with this idea to sell owner shares in Roll With It Harry and it's been going great," said MacAulay.

"All the money that he raises through shares that are sold is in turn going back to Harness The Hope P.E.I."

MacAulay said the event has been so successful so far they plan to run it annually and would like to rotate between Charlottetown and Summerside. 

The event will take place on July 27, with races starting at 6 p.m.

More P.E.I. news 


Natalia Goodwin

Video Journalist

Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.