With more than 5,100 deaths and 27,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer in Canada last year, women’s cancers remain among the most pressing health issues in the world. At Elmira’s Royal Bank, two staff members are planning to fight back.Bank manager Darcy Krahn and senior account manager Sharon Snow are working to raise $4,000 to participate in Shoppers Drug Mart’s Weekend to End Women’s Cancers in Toronto, September 7-8. The weekend’s central event is a two-day, 60-kilometre walk across the city, and every individual participant must generate at least $2,000 in donations. Now, Krahn and Snow hope that Elmira’s residents will contribute to a good cause.
“I did it last year for the first time, and it’s an unbelievable experience,” said Krahn of the 2012 walk. “The first day, you get to the end and man, your feet are sore, ‘I don’t know if I can do it the next day’ … But once you get to the last five kilometres and you can see the end in sight, it’s really neat.”
For Snow, who is planning her first cancer walk, the importance of the cause strikes close to home.
“In 2010, three of my friends were diagnosed with women’s cancer – one of them breast cancer, the other two ovarian,” said Snow. “One of them died within three months; the other one, her treatments haven’t been very successful, and right now she’s in clinical trials, because that’s sort of the last resort. The third one had breast cancer, and there’s a lot more success in that, so she’s had multiple surgeries, and we’re pretty confident she’ll actually be a survivor.”
Snow continued, “But for me, two out of three is pretty powerful stuff, and it’s just a reminder of how many people are suffering on a regular basis.”
For last year’s walk, Krahn and RBC raised $2,000 from the Elmira community, generating a significant portion through raffles and a silent auction. This year, RBC is selling bracelets by jeweler Eliza Ray, labeled “The Many Colours of Cancer.” The bracelets, which sell for $10, connect 23 different coloured stones, each symbolizing a strain of cancer.
Krahn, whose mother-in-law is recovering from breast cancer, takes a broad view of the diseases affecting millions. “People keep on asking me, ‘Why do you walk? Is there a person you’re walking for?’” he said. “My first answer is, ‘No, this is affecting a lot of women in the world, and it has to be stopped.’
“But my wife, on the second day last year, sent me a letter that said, ‘Not only are you walking for your mother-in-law, but potentially for your daughters.’ I’ve got a little two-year-old, and the moment I read that, that really had an impact on me. I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right. This has to end before my daughter gets it.’”