A group of 15 Williams Lake women raised nearly $50,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation through the 60-kilometre Weekend to End Women’s Cancers walk in Vancouver.
The Cariboo Companions team participated in the walk on Aug. 13 and 14 and raised a total of $47,758.82 for cancer research and patient care through the foundation.
Team member Rose Pinchbeck said the weekend was a huge success for the team.
“We walked 35 kilometres on day one,” Pinchbeck said. “At the end of the day, there were a few members with some pretty nasty blisters, sore feet, and most everyone with some minor aches and pains. Day two we walked 25 km and at the finish line there were lots of hugs, tears, and congratulations.”
She says the team walked in three groups, each about an hour apart, and gave their comrades encouragement and enthusiasm along the way.
Many members overcame injuries or ailments they had started with at training and walked the 60 km feeling well.
On Sunday night, Aug. 14, the team had a celebratory dinner at the Shark Club and still had enough energy for a little dancing.
“The entire event was well run,” Pinchbeck said. “Food, drink, medical assistance, and amenities were plentiful. The announcer was an inspiration and gave you energy just to do it.”
The closing ceremonies included two local survivors, Taryn Carnes and Sharon MacDonald, walk the cat walk with the other survivors, which, Pinchbeck said, was “an emotional and proud moment.”
Team members were quick to thank and congratulate each other:
“I just wanted to thank you all for an incredible weekend, your hard work the past eight months fundraising and training,” said team captain Deanne Rife. “We had some good times. Sixty km is such a huge accomplishment. Hopefully you all keep up the walking once the blisters heal.”
Pinchbeck said she is proud of everyone for completing the 60-km walk with her, which was “the best birthday present ever.”
“I had a tough time on Tuesday morning knowing it was all over,” she added. “It was a very gratifying and fun event to participate in.”
MacDonald added: “Thank you all for the wonderful weekend and most importantly in being with me for my final milestone of my personal cancer journey.”
Bev Atkins described the experience as being “priceless times and great memories, new friends, and working towards a cure.”
Josephine Nicklin said it was “a great weekend with a great group of ladies.”
“Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to our team Deanne,” Nicklin said. “And yes, once the blisters heal and the toe nails fall off, I will be walking again. Ten km sounds so easy now.”
Linda Bond added: “I was so blessed to do such an amazing walk, not only with my best friend, but to also foster friendships with some amazing women during this journey. The memories of the laughs and tears will be with me forever.”
Monica Sutherland also reflected on how memorable the experience was.
“It has been very special to get to know each one of you as we’ve spent our evenings together walking, weekends fundraising, and then this wonderful weekend having our hard work pay off.”
Amber Stuart said she pushed herself to some new limits that she didn’t know she had.
“The mind and body are amazing things,” she said. “Good laughs along the way and memories to keep forever. Thanks girls for a weekend I’ll never forget.”
Pinchbeck added that the team thanks all of their families and friends, as well as the community of Williams Lake, for their support.
“We all had an amazing and memorable weekend,” she says.