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Thousands of flags honour kids battling cancer in Manitoba

A Winnipeg couple continues to honour the memory of their lost son while commemorating all children who have fought cancer in Manitoba with thousands of flags at The Forks.

Marco and Suzanne Suzio lost their son Madox at eight years old in 2014 to a rare form of brain cancer.

Realizing there were thousands of Manitoba families going through the same ordeal, the couple started Madox’s Warriors, a non-profit charitable foundation to help fund research specifically into children’s forms of cancer.

“While we were grieving we realized that we didn’t really have supports, and we didn’t want any other families going through that as well,” said Suzanne.

Since then, the two have been holding fundraising and awareness events every year in Winnipeg. On Saturday they gathered with volunteers to plant 10,000 golden flags at The Forks in honour of every child who has had cancer in Manitoba.

“We have 10,000 flags…to represent all the kids who are fighting or who have fought, because we don’t know the exact numbers,” said Suzanne.

The gold colour is to symbolize pediatric cancer, which is often represented by gold ribbons.

Marco said their goal is to start conversations around what is traditionally an uncomfortable topic, to raise money for much-needed research, and to help other families cope with an emotionally taxing situation.

“It’s a recognition event for people to see the pictures of the children that have battled, or are currently battling cancer,” he said. “And to have them be aware that children do get cancer, children do pass away.”

Suzanne said families are grieving as soon as their child gets that first cancer diagnosis.

“It’s taken away their normalcy,” she said. “So these kids aren’t running around and playing, they’re stuck in hospitals, they’re stuck at come because they don’t have the energy to play anymore.”

Madox’s Warriors is hosting a fundraising run on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Assiniboine Park. The event is superhero-themed in honour of Madox, who loved superheroes.

More than 200 participants are expected to take part in the 5k, 10k, or team events. More information can be found online.

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