Determined walkers rally for Weekend’s 10th edition
Ten amazing years after its Montreal debut, the Pharmaprix Weekend to End Women’s Cancers reached its landmark anniversary on Aug. 23 and 24 amid cheers, tears, embraces and legions of aching feet. By the time the 1,560 dogged participants finished tracing their way through the streets of Montreal, they had raised a remarkable $3 million to help the Segal Cancer Centre at the JGH pursue its research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast and gynecologic cancers. Combined with the proceeds of the previous nine years, the Weekend has brought in a grand total of more than $55 million.
Morale was high for this milestone event, as well‑wishers lined the 60‑kilometre route to encourage the walkers, display homemade thank-you signs, and distribute refreshing drinks and snacks. Among the highlights on the first day was a route that took participants past the JGH, which had played a key role in their own cancer experiences or those of their loved ones. The energy here was dazzling, as dedicated members of JGH staff and other volunteers made sure the walkers knew how much they were appreciated.
Saturday morning was sunny and hot, as the enthusiastic walkers set out from the Villa Maria School in NDG and followed a circuit back to the school later in the afternoon for supper, entertainment and a camp-out in tents. The next morning, they headed back out in ideal summer weather, and finally crossed the finish line tired, but with a sense of accomplishment.
Among them was Kulwant Kaur Jutla, who laced up for her fifth Weekend “in honour of friends and relatives who have had cancer—specifically, my husband’s aunt, who was diagnosed at a time when the word ‘cancer’ was still taboo. She didn’t want to worry her family, so I was the one who brought her to the hospital for treatment. She had to go through this fight all by herself.”
When Mrs. Jutla first heard about the Weekend in 2006, she decided to participate on behalf of anyone who might have to take on the fight against cancer in the future. “I thought of my own three daughters and my granddaughter, and I realized that it can happen to anyone, so we must all work towards finding a cure.”
Mrs Jutla’s husband, Sukhvinder, and her sister, Christina Mulchandani, were very supportive of her initiative and joined the walk this past August. The team name: Enhancing Lives 2014. Its mission: to leave a living legacy of love, peace and prosperity. “Every night, my husband and I ask ourselves what we have done today to fulfill this mission in our lives,” she says. “We are fortunate to have been blessed with good health, so we must do what we can to help others.
“When I look at my grandchildren, I realize that we need to make a better world for them—each one of us needs to do our part to help the new generations. I’m so grateful to the Jewish General Hospital for putting on such an event and completing all this research. You can really feel how much they care.”
Despite the significance of the 10th anniversary, it was just the latest leg in a continuing journey that will resume in 2015. In fact, many of this summer’s walkers have already signed up for next year’s event. For information or to register, visit www.endcancer.ca or call 514-393-WALK (9255).