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Cancer’s Walk for the Cure Returns

14 October 2022

Allison Chester thanks walkers

Faces of Cancer and The Saint Lucia Cancer Society have welcomed the resumption in early October of the CIBC FirstCaribbean Walk for The Cure.

Approximately 350 Walk for The Cure regulars returned to the traditional northern route on October 2, after the pandemic-induced suspension of two years.

Over the past eleven years, the annual walk has become a reliable injection of funds to support the work of the country’s two main non-governmental agencies providing assistance and support to those affected by cancer. Allison Chester, president of the Saint Lucian Cancer Society and a breast cancer survivor described the return of the walk as a torch of hope for both the society’s staff and clients.

“The work we do is vital, but the resource challenges can be daunting because cancer is a very expensive condition to treat and manage. We cannot underestimate the power of knowing that one is not alone for cancer patients’ emotional state and their ability to heal. We have come to rely on Walk for the Cure to keep that torch of hoping alight, these past eleven years,” Mrs. Chester said.

Eugenia Fagan - A Walk for The Cure regular, said October has become “a great month” for her, because of the flicker of hope she can help to ignite for cancer survivors like herself. “I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer fourteen years ago and I am going strong. But I do not always get the funds I need, especially as I have to go oversees for treatment.”

According to Faces of Cancer president Dorothy Phillip, the association tries to relieve the expense burden for clients by shouldering as much of their treatment as possible, leaving them to focus on good outcomes from their treatment.

“We are always strapped for cash, so the little we have we try to use in ways that can have an impact. Mammograms, ultrasounds, PSAs, DREs everything is free to clients. That way we are hoping to catch more stage 4 patients than we normally do,” Mrs. Phillip said. She indicated that the plan this year is to apply the proceeds the complete treatment of one cancer patient. “Surgeries, chemotherapy, everything to give that person as much of a chance of survival as possible”.

Among the first set of walkers to complete the route, CIBC FirstCaribbean Country Manager Mr. Nigel Olivierre said the modest turnout is “encouraging because we are just thrilled to be back on the road to regather momentum, raise awareness, collectively honour those whom we have lost to cancer and raise necessary funds.” Mr. Oilliviere disclosed that at the 2019 Walk for The Cure, approximately US$500,000.00 had been raised across the region and funnelled directly into the work of agencies cancer support associations in the countries where the bank does business.

In the weeks leading up to the walk the bank partnered with the Bureau of Health Education in the Ministry of Health to host health open days at branches islandwide. Approximately 200 clients and staff availed themselves of the opportunity to get free Body Mass Index consultations, blood pressure and diabetes screenings.

The bank is continuing Walk for the Cure fundraising activities until year-end with January 2023 earmarked for the handover of proceeds to the beneficiary agencies. Members of the public are encouraged make contributions to the cause via CIBC FirstCaribbean account number 1 0 6 9 9 5 5 5 0.

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