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 the seventeen 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 US$450,000. This brings the total funds raised through this initiative over the past six years to US$1.75 million.
The October 2 Saint Lucia walk raised a total of EC$60,000 which has already been disbursed in equal shares of $30,000 each to the St Lucia Cancer Society and to Faces of Cancer. In expressing the St. Lucia Cancer Society’s appreciation for the “timely injection of funds”, Vice President Dr. Christy Daniel said that his organisation has come to count on the activity as a “sure thing” and times the implementation of some cost-intensive programmes to coincide with the completion of the event.
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 Mr. 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 Mr. St. Hill, Managing Director, Retail and Business Banking.
He added that even though “we fell short of our regional target of US$500,000, raising just over US$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.”
Echoing these sentiments, Saint Lucia Country Manager Ladesa Williams said that notwithstanding lesser numbers on the road in 2017, support from corporate partners remained strong “which also contributed meaningfully to the overall success of the walk as is evident in the sum raised”. Close to forty Saint Lucian companies supported this year’s walk.
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 coincides 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.