One of the many themes of 2020 has come knocking at the door of the Yamaska Valley Optimist Club (YVOC): Adaptation. YVOC is a non-profit organization fulfilling the mission to give back to the community. One method YVOC uses to give back to the community is group events but, due to the current unprecedented times, large in-person events are impossible.
The event goes virtual
The Walk to Fight Women’s Cancers is an annual milestone event that raises thousands of dollars to give back to the community. Usually this event manifests as hundreds of people walking a five-kilometre route together all dressed in pink. Not only does a giant pink mob turn heads but rather it attracts attention to the cause — Fight against women’s cancer.
Unfortunately, YVOC was forced to cancel the large in-person communal walk this year. However, event organizers were quick on their toes to re-organize a virtual walk — The virtual Walk to Fight Women’s Cancers.
“This year, because of the corona virus, we had no choice but to make it a virtual walk,” said organizer Lucy Davis. “We still thought it was very important to raise funds for the hospital to purchase equipment for the prevention and treatments of women’s cancers.”
The importance of not only this event but what it stands for could not be over looked during this year of chaos.
“I’m a positive person” added Davis, stating that the event will go on.
Having the annual pink parade virtually actually brings lots of benefits to the table. First, the event is able to happen. Second, the walk is an entire month long. From Oct. 4, all the way to Nov. 4, people are able to complete a five-kilometre trail on their own schedule. Thirdly, participants can choose to complete the walk alone or with a group of their desire.
“If walking with people outside of your bubble, please wear a mask” emphasized Madame Davis. “There was a small group of us socially distanced walking last Sunday wearing pink and well spread out for every one’s health.”
This year, unlike other years, you do not have to walk. You are able to run, bike, ride your horse, or any other form of exercise as long as you wear pink to show you are doing it for this event.
“We want people to get out and walk because part of the prevention of cancers is exercise and it is just a good idea to get outside,” Davis said.
The event organizers do ask that all participants still register online at www.yvoc.ca and give what you can but there is a minimum donation amount of twenty-five dollars. The goal this year is to raise $50,000, but that goal has been surpassed already.
“We are hoping to get over one million dollars this year because it is our nineteenth walk. We are hoping to get over that point this year” explained Madame Davis.
“You can donate without walking we just like people to go out and get some exercise. The walk is open to all ages, male, female, kids, everybody,” added Davis.
All the money raised is being used to fund new women’s cancer equipment at the Brome-Missisquoi Perkins Hospital (BMP) in Cowansville, specifically “a laparoscopy tower for the operating room” mentioned Davis.
“100 per cent of the money goes to the BMP. We feel when possible it is really important to be treated in your community. Less stress, less travel, it is just more comfortable” said Davis.
To ensure this years Walk for the Cure is as successful as the past years, the YVOC recruited co-presidents: Louise Penny, a best-selling author in the Townships, and Dr. Christine Cadrin, a gynecologist at the BMP hospital.
“They have agreed to mobilize this important event for all the women of Brome-Missisquoi” the YVOC website stated. Davis also said “both are amazing ladies, and both are very behind the walk.”
Show it off
In addition to wearing pink while walking to show your support, use the hashtags #yamaskavalleyoptimistclub or #cancerwalk on social media. As for the future plans for the YVOC, normal fundraising activities are prohibited during the pandemic.
“But they will be having events to support the community like silent auctions of purses to help the local schools and group homes and the Christmas Angels Project,” said Davis.
“We have done well over the years and we are counting on the community again and we know this year is difficult, but it is good for your mental health to go for a walk and get some fresh air,” Davis said. “I want to thank-you for your support and I hope people are getting out there and walking. It is just a nice thing to do.”