A group of parents are being hailed as heroes after stopping a teen from stealing money raised at a local cancer walk in Saskatoon.

More than 400 people gathered at the ampitheatre on River Landing Sunday for the Small But Mighty YXE Gold Walk. The event raised nearly $8,000 for kids cancer research across Canada, but that dollar amount could have been a lot less.

Walk organizer Carolyn Anderson said many bystanders noticed a 17-year-old boy lingering around during the walk. Anderson said the boy crept up behind the donation table and swiped a donation box filled with more than $1,200 in cash, cheques and credit card information.

“Instantly there was probably 20 parents who were fighting for this money to get it back and they ran after him. It didn’t take parents even a second to dash and go retrieve that money,” she said.

One of those bystanders was Alton Whitefish. The Big River First Nations man was attending the event with his wife and 12-year-old daughter, Shaleah, who beat cancer. Whitefish ran after the suspect alongside several others and helped to stop the culprit before police arrived.

“My first instinct was to just get up and chase him and get that money back because I can’t stress enough how important that money is,” Whitefish said.

Organizers of the Gold Walk say all of the money inside the donation box was returned. The Saskatoon Police Service has now charged a 17-year-old boy with theft, uttering threats, breach of probation, and assault with a weapon after he threatened a person with a pair of pliers.