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.
Scott Chollak — vice-president of retail operations at Safeway — is taking part in his third Challenge. Safeway has been involved in Challenge for Life since Day One.
A platinum sponsor, Safeway supplies all participants and volunteers with a healthy breakfast and lunch on the day of the Challenge, while also providing food and refreshments at all six check stops.
"As a company, in the last five years we’ve donated about $940,000 to CancerCare Manitoba," says Chollak, 52. "We’ve supported many CancerCare initiatives like the Prostate Tumor Bank, BreastCheck, Camp Indigo for kids and obviously the Challenge."
"It’s a privilege for me to work for a company that has such strong values. I know it sounds cliché but we really do care about the community that we live and work in. I work with remarkable people every single day and we care about each other. It really is a Safeway family."
Three years ago, Safeway had 17 employees participate in Challenge for Life. This year, there are a whopping 115 walkers on the team, Heart of Safeway.
"Unfortunately, like too many others, our team and our workplace and our families have been deeply affected by cancer," Chollak says.
"At the beginning of this year we got our team together and we went around the room and heard each person’s story about their personal reasons for participating in Challenge for Life. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house."
Chollak says he and a few of his fellow Safeway family members took a tour of the CancerCare Manitoba facilities this year.
"We saw the $4 million linear accelerator. We saw the pediatrics ward and heard how many kids are treated. We saw the Guardian Angels room, where we were told about the 800 women a year that have to select wigs and scarves. We saw the Tumor Bank with its 19,000 samples and we saw and heard from the brilliant doctors and healthcare professionals of how important this fundraising is.
"I’ll never forget Dr. Dhaliwal (CancerCare MB president & CEO) saying to the group ‘Make no mistake, without this fundraising and your help many of these programs would stop immediately.’ That’s pretty impactful."
For more information on Challenge for Life call 204-927-LIFE (5433) and visit www.challengeforlife.ca