Following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Walk For The Cure will return to the road on October 3, on a new route that will allow participants to keep their distance from each other.
During Friday’s launch of the event that is recognised as one of the largest breast cancer fundraising and educational initiatives in the region, the bank’s Walk Manager Shakida Grant said out of an abundance of caution, the route will move to the stretch of the ABC Highway between Warrens and Waterford, giving walkers space to socially distance.
It will end at the National Botanical Gardens where after-walk activities will take place.
“We do recognise that several people that come out to this walk are actually survivors or those who are in remission, so we have chosen a route that will allow us to have a bigger space, a safer atmosphere for these individuals, but we are going to follow any Government protocols that are in place at the time,” said Medical Coordinator of the Breast Screening Programme (BSP) Dr Stephanie Date.
This year marks the BSP’s 20th anniversary of having the walk to increase breast cancer awareness.
During the launch held at the Sugar Bay Hotel, Grant explained that over the past two years, FirstCaribbean and the BSP conducted Walk for the Cure awareness activities and fundraising through hosting virtual walks, cognisant that cancer did not stop or slow down because of COVID.
She said a successful Golf for the Cure was also held in June, which surpassed the target of $50 000, and several other fundraising events, including Paint for the Cure, Denim Days, a raffle, and the dollar drives will be held in September and October.
“We are going to be having coin boxes in our banking halls, but for clients of CIBC FirstCaribbean, when they sign on to online banking, they have the option to donate.
“We have actually raised quite a bit of money that way. When you buy the shirts, of course, all of those proceeds raised go to the Breast Screening Programme. So, just look out for all of our initiatives, and maybe if you can’t physically walk there is a way for you to participate in terms of helping us with the fundraising and, of course, awareness,” Grant said.
Dr Date said that apart from aiding patients and families, raising awareness, and assisting in the daily running of the clinic, proceeds from Walk for the Cure had helped purchase a state-of-theart 3D mammogram machine that is functioning in the clinic and already aiding in more accurate, reliable and early detection of breast cancer in Barbados.
She said funds raised from this year’s walk will go towards purchasing a stereotactic biopsy machine valued at $170 000, to be used with the 3D machine to accurately pinpoint microcalcifications and abnormalities.
Dr Date explained that this is less invasive than surgical biopsy, can leave little to no scarring, and can be an excellent way to evaluate deposits or tiny masses that are not visible on an ultrasound.
Encouraging Barbadians to support Walk for the Cure this year, she added: “We also recognise that COVID does still exist, so if you are feeling unwell, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 – cough, fever, sore throat, etc., – we ask you to simply please not to attend; you can still support and purchase a shirt.”
Walk for the Cure shirts will be on sale in Sheraton Mall every Saturday throughout September, or directly from the BSP clinic at Henry’s Lane, St Michael.