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Robbie Krofchick is known to smile a lot. Kind and warm, his enthusiastic energy easily disarms those around him.
But certain ear-to-ear grins are reserved for Robbie's loved ones, like the one he wore the day he welcomed his grandchild Mateo into the world with his son, Brett.
"I see so much of Brett in Mateo—the same positive, motivating spirit and his smile," says Robbie.
With a newborn family member to celebrate, the Krofchick family was over the moon. Nothing could have prepared them for the sudden and devastating shock when Brett passed away four months later from brain cancer.
When Robbie hears the phrase, "cancer affects everyone," it rings too true. That's why he is proud to support cancer research through the inaugural Shoppers Drug Mart OneWalk to Conquer Cancer on September 12, 2015.
OneWalk. One Day. All cancers.
With over 200 different types of cancer affecting the health of Canadians and their loved ones, the Shoppers Drug Mart OneWalk to Conquer Cancer unites those passionate about conquering all cancers. The fundraising event is a one-day 25km walk through Toronto that raises critical funds for cancer research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world.
The event originated as the Weekend to End Breast Cancer to support breast cancer research at The Princess Margaret. In 2011, it evolved into the Weekend to End Women's Cancers to include gynecologic cancer research. But with more and more stories like Robbie's, the event was adjusted to support cancer research for all types of the disease.
At the 2014 Weekend to End Women's Cancers, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation's President and CEO, Paul Alofs, announced a historic transition for North America's largest multi-day walk supporting women's cancer. Through OneWalk, registered walkers can specify the type of cancer they wish to fundraise for or support the discovery research fund for all cancers.
Motivation to support cancer research
To Robbie, this event is more than a walk or tribute to his loved ones.
"When we combine hope with aspiration, when we work together to support medical advancement, we change the world," he says. "We are doing something concrete in this fight to conquer cancer."
When Robbie first joined the Weekend to End Breast Cancer (WEBC, now OneWalk) with his colleagues at Team Shoppers Drug Mart, he was looking for a way to honour his mother. She died of lung cancer at age 63. Though WEBC supported breast cancer, Robbie felt inspired by the world-leading cancer experts at The Princess Margaret and wanted to help the cause.
Then, Robbie lost his father to pancreatic cancer in 2005. Six years later, he lost Brett. The opportunity to raise funds for all of his loved ones couldn't have come sooner.
"Cancer impacts everyone. It isn't prejudiced or discriminatory. It is a disease that we need to continue to spread awareness about and to raise critical dollars for so we can fight it and save more people," says Robbie.
Power in numbers
When he's asked about walking with his fundraising team in support of Princess Margaret, Robbie's face lights up.
"It's one of my favourite days of the year," he beams. "I look forward to Opening Ceremonies at OneWalk this year and know that my team and I will continue to feel proud and encouraged by what we are contributing."
With a total of 368 members, Team Shoppers Drug Mart raised over $425,000 in the 2014 Weekend to End Women's Cancers. Since becoming the national title sponsor of the Weekend to End Women's Cancers in 2010, Team Shoppers Drug Mart has successfully raised over $4.6 million in support of The Princess Margaret.
Robbie and his team are looking forward to raising research funds for all cancer types at the 2015 OneWalk to Conquer Cancer.
His loved ones will be in his thoughts.
To learn more about registering for OneWalk to Conquer Cancer, please visit www.onewalk.ca or call 416-815-9255.