Jen Nichols and Tracey Csordas walk because they can’t walk away.
The duo will take part in the annual Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers benefitting the Princess Margaret Hospital, taking place in Toronto on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9.
“We can’t walk away from it because cancer effects you, it effects everybody,” Nichols said. “And you can’t walk away because it’s so important.”
Both women have had cancer affect their lives, through friends, relatives and co-workers. Each cancer battle serves as an inspiration for them to help make a change.
“We’ve watched a few girls go through it at work,” Csordas said. “It’s nice to watch them come back and battle it, but the battle is so hard. To be able to walk and raise awareness and money for cancer is the best thing.”
The two-day, 60-km walk aims to raise funds for the Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. The institute hosts an elite team of cancer researchers, scientists, clinicians and staff who are dedicated to conquering cancer.
On average, 437 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each week and one in seven Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast or gynecological cancers in their lifetime, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
“To lose someone to cancer, to lose someone to this disease and you know they were vibrant and to watch the disease take over their life, it’s horrifying,” Nichols said. “But to be able to give back is a powerful, overwhelming experience.”
Registration for the walk requires a $2,000 fee. With many people strapped for cash, Nichols and Csordas decided to host a bottle drive on July 28 as a way to help raise funds.
The women will drive around the city picking up bottles and cans and return them to the LCBO for refunds.
“We want to work for it,” Csordas said. “We didn’t just want to ask for it.”
The pair has already collected $500 through an aluminum can drive held throughout the month of May at Woodman-Cainsville School.
“It’s amazing the generosity of people,” Nichols said. “And when you tell them why you’re doing this, everybody is affected by it on some level, so they can relate.”
While standing in line to cash in bottles from a drive the pair held for friends and family, Csordas was met with a random act of generosity.
“We were at the Murray Street Beer Store and a young girl in line said ‘oh my, that’s a lot of empties’ and we went into our spiel and she opened her wallet and said ‘here’s $20 for your walk,’” Csordas said. “It was only $20, but the thought that a stranger in line jumped on the cause and donated it was really nice.”
Though they are only two women raising funds for a big cause, Nichols and Csordas say every penny, and every step, counts.
“I think it’s important to raise awareness,” Nichols said. “We are capable of doing the walk so why not?
“It’s important to raise funds so that the next generation doesn’t have to do this walk. These funds will go toward research and finding a cure.”
To take part in Nichols and Csordas’ bottle drive, e-mail email@example.com. Accommodations can be made for anyone who is unable to participate in the drive on July 28.
Financial donations can be made by visiting www.endcancer.ca and searching either woman’s name under the Toronto event.