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 by up to 50%
This year, Challenge for Life culminates on June 8 with a 20 kilometre walk, beginning and ending at Assiniboine Park.
This is the sixth year Benji Harvey has taken up the Challenge. A breast cancer survivor, Harvey started taking part the year she was diagnosed.
"When I finished my chemo, surgery and everything else I went through, two months later my oldest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer," says Harvey, 53.
"Reliving everything with her, helping her go through all the treatments and doctor’s appointments I realized that even in that short amount of time how much the treatments can change.
"The money we’re raising is really making a difference and I actually saw that difference as opposed to just hearing about it."
Last year, Harvey and her team, The Schvesters (Yiddish for sisters) raised approximately $24,000 for CancerCare Manitoba.
That might seem like a high figure — and it is — but Harvey says raising the money isn’t all that difficult.
"My daughter said on her Facebook, ‘Instead of having two drinks at the bar, donate to me’ and it was amazing how many people she got, people saying ‘Cheers to you, here’s your donation.’
"There’s another girl on our team who does a potluck dinner and everybody has to bring a meal plus donate at least $10. People do garage sales, one of my sisters did a Zumbathon, everyone comes at it differently but everybody manages to raise the money."
In addition to being a survivor, Harvey says she was attracted to the Challenge because the money stays in Manitoba and because it goes to combat all types of cancer. She also loves the healthy living aspect, adding that 20 kilometres isn’t that difficult if you train your feet.
"To be able to do the walk, it’s a lifestyle," Harvey says.
"CancerCare is training you into a good lifestyle and a good way of thinking so you’re not only prepared for the walk but also the walk in your life."
For more information on Challenge for Life call 204-927-LIFE (5433) and visit www.challengeforlife.ca.