Every year, the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation runs Challenge for Life, a fundraising/awareness event whereby walkers commit to raising $1,000 for CancerCare Manitoba while also taking an active role in maintaining their physical health, thus reducing their risk of getting cancer.
This year, Challenge for Life culminates on June 8 with a 20 kilometre walk, beginning and ending at Assiniboine Park.
Janice Simard has been taking part in the Challenge since Day One. In 2005, both her mother and best friend were diagnosed with breast cancer, motivating Simard to volunteer in the 2006 Weekend to End Breast Cancer and then walking in that same event — a 60 km hike — in 2007.
"Everybody knows somebody that’s had cancer or lost somebody to cancer," says Simard, 52.
"My mom and my friend just showed so much courage in all the radiation and surgeries they had to go through.
"Plus, when I did the Weekend to End Breast Cancer I lost some weight. I’ve stayed healthy and I’ve kept the weight off. It’s healthy to walk. That’s what I do to lose weight and keep in shape. Anybody can walk. My friends and I walk. My husband and I walk. It’s just great for your health."
Simard — who walks on Team Hope with her friend Kim Verrier — has raised over $11,000 for CancerCare Manitoba through Challenge for Life. She says her friends and family are always keen to donate.
"I just send out an email and thank everybody for all the support they’ve shown me in the past years and they always come back," Simard says. "Everybody knows it’s a good cause because everybody is touched in some way by cancer."
Speaking of touching, Simard says the day of the Challenge for Life walk is absolutely moving.
"It’s very inspiring and very emotional," Simard says. "I get very emotional during the speeches and the whole start of the walk.
"Also, when we cross that finish line everybody’s cheering for us. Everybody is so welcoming when you come across the finish line whether they know you or not. You’re hugging people you don’t know and giving high fives, it’s quite an experience."
For more information on Challenge for Life call 204-927-LIFE (5433) and visit www.challengeforlife.ca