In an effort to encourage generations of families to walk together, the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers (WEWC) lowered its entry age to 13 in 2014.
The weekend walk, an event sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart and now in its 12th year, raised $147 million for cancer research. Lowering the age limit of entrants allows all high school students to participate but also increased awareness among the next generation about the fight to beat cancer.
Carlos Jardino with his team, PCMNow, jumped at the opportunity to sign up eight youth – family and friends ranging from 13 to 17. Alexandra, Timothy and Patrick, aged 13, Caroline and Julia aged 16, Philip, Maya and Matthew, aged 17, join five adult team-members.
In the most recent walk, as in past years, the 60 km walk is divided over two days – 32 km on Saturday, and 28 km on Sunday. Walkers doing the two-day course were expected to raise $2000, while those doing one day had to raise $1250. Youth, however, were only required to raise $500.
Walkers started from centrefield at the Rogers Centre and followed a winding route through beautiful Toronto neighbourhoods. Fully equipped pit stops along the way provided water, snacks, and lunch, as well as staff to give medical attention is necessary.
At the end of day one, participants received a massage and hot dinner — and blister care if they have them. Live entertainment and dancing continued until Lights Out, which is when participants walking the second day bunked down in tents provided in the overnight camp at the Rogers Centre. Hot showers and a hot breakfast on Sunday morning guaranteed to keep everyone charged up for the 28 km Day Two walk. Since its launch in 2003, WEWC has raised not only money but hope as it has funded the work of Dr. Tak Mak who has pioneered a new drug now in Phase 1 clinical trials and the most comprehensive Immune Therapy program in Canada at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is now two years into its Billion Dollar Challenge, a five-year initiative to revolutionize cancer care by creating the new gold standard in cancer care: Personalized Cancer Medicine. While a billion dollars sounds like a lot, every penny is needed to fight this disease. 40% of Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, while survivorship in on the rise, some cancers remain very lethal and there is more work that we must do to conquer this very complex disease. Princess Margaret is leading the way in new treatments and discoveries, as one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world.
Jardino’s participation not only honors the memory of his father, Jose, who died of cancer at just 52, but also honours The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, whose values he respects and admires. “The Foundation’s vision is to conquer cancer in our lifetime and their values such as passion for the cause, partnership and accountability,” Jardino says. “Are essentially the same values I believe in.”
His work ethic — use only quality craftsmanship and materials – has garnered his company PCM Construction its reputation for quality. It builds many of Oakville’s most outstanding luxury custom homes, but has also built The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s annual fall lottery show home for the past several years. (For the 2013 showstopper, see http://www.princessmargaretlotto.com/two/oakville.php.)
Since 1966, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation has raised over $279-million for cancer research through their lotteries. Like all the participating fundraisers for the WEWC PCMNOW had its own page on the WEWC’s main website. The Foundation feels this is an essential tool in helping teams raise money, as well as spread awareness of the event, and of the importance of research. Participants also get the chance to train, with Get-in-Step sessions, training walks, foot clinics – and the popular Pink Martini Nights. In 2015 The Walk in being transformed into the Shoppers Drug Mart OneWalk To Conquer Cancer – One Walk, One Day, For ALL Cancers.
For more information about the new walk and to register, please go to www.onewalk.ca