The year 2020 was generally a difficult one for many, but fundraising events took a particular hit, especially those that involved large numbers of people. The annual CIBC FirstCaribbean Walk for the Cure event was no exception.
Though the cause remained the same – to create awareness and assist those experiencing issues as a result of breast cancer – the restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the usual 20,000 people from gathering at the bank’s headquarters building in Warrens to walk and run for the cause. It also hindered the many fundraising events that usually take place in the lead up to the event.
However, the staff at CIBC FirstCaribbean still persevered and tried to raise some funds among colleagues in the bank, together with funds from a few corporate partners, which helped to create the $38,000 that the walk committee was able to deliver to the Breast Screening Programme (BSP) of the Barbados Cancer Society.
“Despite the restrictions, we were still able to obtain some corporate sponsorship; we held a Paint for the Cure event at the Animal Flower Cave with fewer people because of the social distancing; we collected some funds from the Denim Days where staff paid a small fee into the fund to wear jeans to work and then we also had some donations from staff members,” explained Donna Wellington, Managing Director for the bank’s Barbados business. “For that and to those who contributed, we are grateful” She added.
She further explained that the Virtual Walk for the Cure which featured a number of regional entertainers also raised some funds for the cause and the bank was able to sell T- shirts for the BSP last year. The bank was therefore able to hand over an additional $22,810 as a result of T-shirts sold to staff and their families. That would total some $60,810 collected for the cause for 2020.
In accepting the funds from the bank, Dr. Shirley Jhagroo, Medical Coordinator for the Breast Screening Programme, stated: “The Barbados Cancer Society Breast Screening Programme thanks CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank for its support and commitment as a partner in saving the lives of patients diagnosed with breast cancer by early detection.
The Programme which was launched in 2002 had a prediction of mammogram screening of 4,000 patients annually. This number has since doubled, as just over 8,000 patients were screened in 2019 and to date over 110,000 people have benefitted from the clinic services, which include mammograms, breast ultrasounds, ultrasound and mammogram guided biopsies, clinical breast examinations and teaching of breast self-examination, all at affordable costs to the public.”
In confirming how the BSP uses the funds, Dr. Jhagroo added: “At present we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new state of the art mammogram imaging Tomogram machine (3D) for early detection of breast cancer. This equipment is currently being used in first world countries and is expected to enhance early detection in younger women and women with dense breast tissue. We thank everyone for making
this a reality.”
Donna Wellington confirmed that meetings have already begun to look at the possibilities for the 2021 event, which would be the 10th anniversary of the Walk across the Caribbean. Recognising that there is still a question about the restrictions due to the pandemic, she stated: “We have to be even more creative, as we try to work out what we can do this year to raise funds for this cause, in a safe environment, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Walk for the Cure.”
The Walk for the Cure was first established in 2012, as part of the bank’s 10th anniversary celebrations. (PR)