Cascades to participate in Gutsy Walk

Cascades men's soccer players James Najman and Mark Village helped lead the warm-up at the 2014 Abbotsford Gutsy Walk.

Cascades men’s soccer players James Najman and Mark Village helped lead the warm-up at the 2014 Abbotsford Gutsy Walk.

For the second straight year, the Cascades men’s soccer squad is participating in the Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis in support of teammate James Najman, and they’re inviting other UFV teams to join them.

Najman was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 11, and overcame long odds to play university soccer. The third-year Cascades forward has been active in raising funds to help find a cure for inflammatory bowel diseases, and in 2014, he served as honourary chair of the Abbotsford Gutsy Walk. The UFV men’s soccer team supported Najman’s efforts by fundraising for and participating in the walk, and by volunteering to lead the warm-up and help with set-up and tear-down on the day of the event.

They’ll be involved again this year, and they’re encouraging other Cascades student-athletes to register and fundraise as part of their “UFV Athletics” team at gutsywalk.ca and to wear their team jerseys on the day of the walk (Sunday, June 7).

“It was so great last year (at the Gutsy Walk) with the UFV team there,” Najman said. “When I was younger, I didn’t have a role model who had Crohn’s disease. I want to try to be that role model, to show people they don’t have to let anything get in the way of what they want to do.”

Abbotsford is one of 60 cities across Canada which will host a Gutsy Walk on June 7. The local event is a three-kilometre walk around Mill Lake, convening at Trethewey House (2313 Ware St.). Registration opens at 9 a.m., with warm-up set for 9:45 a.m. and the walk beginning at 10 a.m.

Money raised will go to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada to fund the continuing search for a cure, along with patient programs and advocacy. Abbotsford Gutsy Walk organizers have set a total fundraising goal of $26,310 according to the event website, and over $3,000 (or 13 per cent of the goal) has been raised so far.

To register, donate or volunteer, visit gutsywalk.ca.

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