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Our worst fears were realized when the skies opened at the outset of the inaugural OneWalk to Conquer Cancer.
Yet, there at the opening ceremonies on Saturday morning, Sept. 12, were every one of the 4,532 participants who registered to raise funds and participate, including large numbers of UHN employees.
The walkers may have been damp, but their spirit wasn't dampened!
And, Paul Alofs, President & CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (The PMCF), proudly announced OneWalk raised a staggering $7.5 million for personalized cancer medicine at the Princess Margaret.
Walkers departed from Polson Pier on the Lake Ontario waterfront at 8 a.m. With the weather clearing in a most marvelous way, they walked 25 kilometres through Toronto's diverse and wonderful neighbourhoods. Along the way, they re-fueled at regular pit stops and were saluted by music, dancing and other entertainment.Walkers concluded their walk at Polson Pier, crossing the finish line amidst cheer squads welcoming them back triumphantly.
Within Polson Pier is the amazing Cabana Pool Bar. While relaxing after an emotional day, walkers enjoyed a delicious meal and then were pampered at various locations – Shoppers Drug Mart handed out wonderful bags of treats, there were massages and yoga, plus entertainment including synchronized swimming demonstrations and Cirque du Soleil-type acrobatics.
Christine Lasky and Paul Alofs of The PMCF closed out the afternoon by thanking walkers, sponsors, crew, volunteers and donors for an outstanding day. They concluded the event by presenting 102-year-old participant Kitty Cohen with a newly-designated award: the Heart & Sole Award for dedication to OneWalk to Conquer Cancer.
It was an inspiring day. And, while it began with "liquid sunshine," it concluded with the warmth of camaraderie and the satisfaction of knowing that OneWalk to Conquer Cancer had raised an amazing amount of money for the extraordinary work being done at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world.