A group of 16 lakecity women are walking five kilometers or more several times a week these days in efforts to build up their stamina to walk 60 kilometers in two days this summer.
Their goal is to participate in the two-day 60-kilometer Shopper’s Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers Aug. 13-14 in Vancouver.And if the walk itself isn’t enough, the women have pledged to raise $2,000 each for the BC Cancer Foundation or a total of $32,000.
The group is called Cariboo Companions — Investing in Women’s Health, says team captain Deanne Rife.Rife decided to participate in the walk in celebration of her mother Rose Pinchbeck’s “milestone” birthday. Six friends decided to make the walk with her and before long the group had blossomed into 16 participants.“A few years back my mom said that when she turns 60 she wanted to do the 60 kilometre Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, previously known as the The Weekend to End Breast Cancer,” Rife says.
“So that time has come and I am holding her to it. We have all had women close to us effected by cancer and we are healthy women so why wouldn’t we walk and raise money for a wonderful cause.”Rife says she sent out an e-mail to their friends to see if anyone would like to make the walk with them and was amazed when they received 16 positive replies.
“Wow 16 of them signed up to join in,” Rife says. “ We are looking forward to this amazing experience and I am so excited and proud to be doing with this my amazing mom and all the other wonderful women on our team. We also have two breast cancer survivors on our team Taryn Carnes and Sharon MacDonald, so that is pretty special.”
The team members walk together twice a week and are also following individual training schedules to prepare for the walk, says group member Bev Atkins. “Three of us from this group worked with Rose when we first started working for the Ministry of Forests and we all took to calling her “mom” so when mom asked we said yes,” Atkins.
She also recognizes that almost everyone will be affected by cancer in some way.“My experience is that I lost my father to cancer in only one month from the time he was admitted to the hospital,” Atkins says. “Just recently I lost my father-in-law to cancer only nine days after he was admitted to the hospital. Neither one of them knew they had cancer.“This journey is to celebrate them, to help raise funds to find a cure and to celebrate cancer survivors. This journey is to also improve my health through the training we are doing to prepare for this walk. I lack motivation when it comes to exercise, but this journey is one that I can motivate myself for,” Atkins says. “I am really looking forward to this journey, it will be filled with new friends and new memories that will last a lifetime.”
Team member Amber Hall is also happy to be participating.“I’ve wanted to do something like this event for a long time so when my good friends Rose Pinchbeck and Deanne Rife suggested we form a team and participate in The Vancouver Weekend to End Women’s Cancers I just knew I had to say yes!” Hall says.“Now that I know we’ll each be walking 60 kilometers I’m wondering if we’re all a little crazy! But that’s probably why we all get along so well! There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll achieve our fundraising goal of $32,000 and have an amazing weekend together full of laughs and tears.”
Although she is not participating in the walk herself, Leslie Rowse, a lakecity photographer, has helped the team by holding a day of mini-photography sessions in the upper gallery at the Station House Gallery on April 2.She is donating 100 per cent of the 25-minute session fee, and 10 per cent of the finished print sales go to the cause.
“It is humbling when a group of friends tell you they’ve signed up to walk 60 kilometers in two-days, plus are also going to raise $12,000 (when there were only six) as well. It immediately made me think: ‘really, what am I doing to help people, important causes, or the world?’” Rowse says.“I find it very easy to feel like “how could my small amount ever make a difference” and let things/opportunities slide. I just couldn’t let this one go and had this nagging feeling that I had to help in some way. After brainstorming, I thought I should just stick to what I know, photography.”
She chose the upper gallery at the Station House for the photo shoot for its great light and historical significance.
The team participated in the recent Nutrition Fun Run Walk and has many fundraising events planned including bottle drives, garage sales, hot dog sales, and car washes.
People can also drop off bottle donations for the team under their team name account name Cariboo Companions at Amanda Enterprises.
The next fundraiser for the Cariboo Companions is a hot dog sale on Saturday, May 7 at Save On Foods.Donations can also be made on line at website www.endcancer.ca in the Cariboo Companions name.People participating in the Shopper’s Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers August 13-14 in Vancouver can actually chose the two-day 60 kilometer walk or a one-day 32 kilometer one-day walk.Participating walkers are fully supported with regular pit stops, hydration, food and medical care–should it be needed. There is also dinner and entertainment in the evening for both groups.
Two-day walkers raise $2,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation and one day walkers raise at least $1,250 for the foundation.Participants can also designate their fundraising dollars to go specifically to breast cancer or gynecologic cancers.Funds raised support the work of BC Cancer Foundation and their efforts to end breast and gynecologic cancers, diseases that one in seven Canadian women will be diagnosed within their lifetime.