Raising much-needed funds
Sixth annual women’s walk raises money for Cancer Society Wheels of Hope program
The sixth annual Women Walking For Hope fundraiser saw a dedicated group of area residents lace up their sneakers and don their ponchos in support of the Wheels of Hope Program.
On May 6, the charitable walk saw eight participants walk 40 kilometres down Petawawa Boulevard from the Petawawa Civic Centre to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Renfrew County Community Office in Pembroke’s west end and back again.
The event serves as a main fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society of Renfrew County’s Wheels of Hope Program, which provides transportation to people travelling back and forth to cancer appointments primarily in Ottawa.
The cold and rainy weather did not discourage the participants who raised a whopping $11,601.09 through their efforts, and were treated to free pizza from Joes Family Pizzeria halfway through their eight-hour march.
In the first year, the walk had just three participants – lead organizer Susan Chalmers and her friends Barb Palmer and Lesley Buckingham. Chalmers’s daughter Jeris later joined the cause and it is now open to anyone who wishes to join and help out.
“With the rainy weather, it’s great that we still had so many who came out,” said Chalmers. “I see it as just eight hours of my day of being damp and wet in order to support this cause. And this year was great as we ended up well surpassing our goal with more than $11,000.”
This year’s funds will support 131 drives for Renfrew County cancer patients to appointments in Ottawa.
Desiree Crevier, a cancer survivor and one of the walk’s participants, shared how the program has positively impacted herself and others. She finished her treatment for stage-three breast cancer in October and although she is on the road to recovery her journey is still not over.
“I’ve seen it firsthand, the people that come in for radiation every week and they could not get there without the Wheels of Hope (program). I even know people from Pembroke and Petawawa who relied on it and it was the only way that they could get back and forth,” said Crevier. “I didn’t have to use the Wheels of Hope because I was fortunate enough to have my husband drive me but if he had been deployed I would have had no choice because I don’t have family here.”
Since it began six years ago, the annual walk has raised nearly $38,000 for the local charity which has provided transportation relief to hundreds of patients from Pembroke, Petawawa and other areas in the county.
“We at the Canadian Cancer Society are very appreciative and very thankful for these ladies to be out in the rain today, doing the Women’s Walk for Hope,” said Lana Gorr, community engagement specialist with the Renfrew County Community Office of the Canadian Cancer Society. “Without them the program would not be as successful as it is and without them it would not survive.”
Anyone who wishes more information on the Wheels of Hope program, who wants to volunteer or donate to the cause is asked to call the Renfrew County Community Office at 613-735-2571.
The Women Walking for Hope raised $11,601.09 for the Canadian Cancer Society's Wheels of Hope transportation program by walking from Petawawa to Pembroke and back again. Halfway through their travels, Joes Family Pizzeria treated the group to a free lunch. In the photo (from left) are Joes Family Pizzeria co-owner Joe Ward, Canadian Cancer Society of Renfrew County community engagement specialist Lana Gorr, Morgan Finley, Susan Chalmers, Lesley Buckingham, Michel Lariviere, Jeris Chalmers-Wein, Danielle Shaver, nine-year-old Mylah Shaver, six-year-old Laila Shaver, Desiree Crevier, Lisa Lueck and Joes Family Pizzeria co-owner Natasha Ward.