For Amanda Hergott, cancer has been a very real part of her life for the past decade.
About 10 years ago, her mother Wendy Bradley was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and six years ago Hergott also received bad news at her annual physical after her doctor found pre-cervical cancer cells and she underwent treatment.
Thankfully, both women are cancer-free today, and Hergott – an account manager for RBC in Elmira – will be walking for the first time in the eighth-annual Weekend to End Women’s Cancer to benefit
Princess Margaret Hospital on Sept. 10 and 11 in Toronto.
She is part of Team RBC along with her mother and co-workers Crystal Vermette, Marianne Angelucci and Sue Van Every.
“A lot of these walkers have been affected in one way or another and I think we need to have that awareness of how much it impacts everyone in the world,” said Hergott, who was only 22 years old when she received her pre-cancer diagnosis, and will be six-months pregnant the day of the walk.
“If we can get more money towards Princess Margaret and have women going in for more regular checkups it would have a big impact and lead to a lot more women being saved.”
Among Canadian women, breast cancer continues to be the most frequently diagnosed cancer, with nearly 23,000 new cases diagnosed last year alone – twice as many as lung cancer – and claiming approximately 5,400 lives in 2010. About 1,300 cervical cancer cases are diagnosed each year, and nearly 400 deaths are attributed to the disease annually.
The weekend walk is an opportunity for those affected by cancer to remember lives that have been lost to breast or gynecological cancer, as well as a chance to celebrate the lives that cancer research is saving.
Since 2003, more then $100 million has been raised by walk participants, with proceeds going to fund research, treatment and prevention programs at Princess Margaret Hospital. The weekend consists of a two-day, 60-km walk or a one-day, 32-km walk. Hergott and her team have decided to tackle the two-day challenge, adding that the team has been trying to train ahead of the event.
“Sue and I just did a 6-kilometer walk [Monday] night to try to get us into longer distances and we’re going to try and do that for this week and maybe double it next week and keep going from there.”
Team members have a fundraising goal of $2,000 each, and have undertaken numerous fundraising activities to reach that goal, including barbecues and bake sales, and they have just passed the halfway point. Overall, Team RBC has raised more than $250,000 for Princess Margaret, with the aim of reaching $407,000 in time for next month’s walk.
To donate to the cause, just drop by the RBC branch at the corner of Church and Arthur Street in Elmira where the team has set up a bank account to collect funds, and there is also a large jug near the front entrance to collect any spare change.