Walkers just outside FirstCaribbean International Bank’s head office in Warrens for the start of last year's walk. (FILE)
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BRIDGETOWN – Two devastating hurricanes slowed down but could not derail the fundraising momentum of the region’s largest cancer care and awareness event.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria curtailed fundraising activities and caused the cancellation of walks in five of 17 English and Dutch speaking territories where CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank holds its annual Walk for the Cure activities.
Despite that setback, the hard work of hundreds of volunteers from across the bank in partnership with various cancer care organisations and over 160 corporate sponsors, raised just over USD$450 000. This brings the total funds raised through this initiative over the past six years to USD$1.75 million.
Walks took place across the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean where the bank has a presence except for Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Maarten and Turks and Caicos Islands, which were hardest hit by the hurricanes. Thousands took to the streets primarily on the first weekend in October, dressed in white or pink T-shirts to walk and run to raise awareness of the various cancers and their impact on families.
Executive co-chairs of the walk Mark St Hill and Trevor Torzsas praised efforts of staff, volunteers and corporate sponsors for their “phenomenal fundraising efforts again this year which will save lives, provide care and raise awareness”.
“The commitment to this project which our employees have exhibited over the years is nothing short of remarkable. They do this on an entirely voluntary basis – along with the rest of their work - and every year we are astounded by what they are able to achieve. Likewise, our list of corporate partners continues to grow every year as more businesses join us in our fight against cancer,” said Torzsas who is also managing director, cards & customer relationship and management.
“We are thrilled to mark another successful Walk for the Cure; we were able to raise a significant amount of money which will assist those battling cancer and their families. Just as important, we were also able to continue to spread the message of education and early detection as two of the most potent weapons in the fight against the disease,” said St Hill, managing director, retail and business banking.
He added that even though “we fell short of our regional target of USD $500 000, raising just over USD $450 000 we are not discouraged. There was a good reason for this; five of our countries were forced to halt their campaigns in September following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. But despite this we are happy to report that these five countries will donate whatever they had raised prior to the storms to help their cancer societies rebuild and continue their vital service to persons affected by cancer.”
In Barbados, BDS$214 000 was handed over to the Breast Screening Unit of the Barbados Cancer Society after an historic number of Barbadians turned out to support the walk on Sunday October 1.
All of the funds raised are used to provide assistance, care and counselling to patients and their families as well as to raise awareness through education campaigns across the region. They also help the various organisations to assist with the purchase and maintenance of equipment used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.
The regional walk is held to coincide with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s CIBC Run for the Cure sponsored by the bank’s parent company, CIBC. CIBC has been supporting this event for 21 years, donating millions to breast cancer research in Canada. (PR)