NewsLocal News


2nd annual 'Pain in the Canal' fundraiser underway, honoring Kevin Hays

He fought colorectal cancer for himself and others
Pain in the canal challenge underway
Posted at 12:07 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 08:37:24-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A fundraiser to honor a Western New York man known for fighting colorectal cancer is up and running, literally. It's called Pain in the Canal, where people try to run the length of the Erie Canal.

"Kevin really showed me that regardless of the physical pain I'm in, you can still put in your best effort," said Martin Pasternak, Hays' cousin. He started this challenge last year and ran as long as he could, biking the end of the challenge with Hays at the finish line.

Last year, Kevin passed away before his 36th birthday. So this year's fundraiser is in his honor, with all money raised going to Buffalo Colon Corps. The goal is to reach $50,000.

This virtual challenge will run from May 15 through August 21, here's the breakdown:

  • 15 Miles Per Week: Participants will be challenged to run 180.75 miles (roughly 15 miles per week) along the first half of the Erie Canal Trail
    • Registration is $55
  • 30 Miles Per Week: Participants will be challenged to run or walk 361.5 miles (roughly 30 miles per week) along the entire Erie Canal Trail from Albany to Buffalo
    • Registration is $65
  • Sally's Kid Challenge: This is FREE to all kids under 16 years old.
  • Free in person run-a-thon event
    • August 20, 6am-9pm
    • Sign up and commit to a distance, then raise money for each mile you are able to run, walk, or bike.

Click here to register. Registration ends May 31.

Pasternak is looking to continue Hays' work in spreading awareness, by taking a trip to Albany with Senator Tim Kennedy to get Senate Bill 906B passed, which will have health care insurance pay for colorectal cancer screenings based on the American Cancer Association guidelines (currently starting at age 45).

"Personally I would truly love to witness this bill passed while we are in Albany this week," said Pasternak.