More than 25,000 participants in communities from coast to coast to coast united earlier this month for the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure’s first hybrid virtual/physical event, raising more than $8.5 million for the breast cancer cause. Organizers embraced an innovative hybrid format to protect the health and safety of participants nationwide due to COVID-19.
The event was reimagined to ensure the beloved elements of Run Day were accessible in a virtual environment. Participants showed their support by tuning into live-streamed opening ceremonies which included performances from talented Canadian musicians, testimonials from people affected by breast cancer and a high-energy warm-up featuring fitness leaders from across the country. Hosted by award-winning singer-songwriter Jully Black, the virtual opening ceremonies brought participants across Canada together at the same time for the first time in the event’s history. Through a refreshed mobile app, participants built their virtual runners and tracked their distance as they walked or ran in their neighbourhoods.
Also for the first time, through the support of CIBC and their employees’ fundraising efforts, critical funds are going toward both breast cancer research and CancerConnection.ca, the Canadian Cancer Society’s online support community for people with cancer and caregivers. This growing community provides emotional support and practical advice about managing cancer while building wellness and resilience. CIBC’s support for this program comes at a time when connecting with others online for support has been more important than ever.
“We’re so grateful that Canadians embraced the new Run format,” said Andrea Seale, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. “CIBC’s dedicated support of CancerConnection.ca comes at a crucial time. We know that people with breast cancer and their caregivers have faced new challenges and burdens this year because of interruptions and delays in care, and isolation due to COVID-19. The opportunity to make meaningful connections online is so important right now while physical distancing is a necessity – especially for our community members who are immunocompromised.”
The 2020 CIBC Run for the Cure marks the 24th year for CIBC as title sponsor of the Run, with over 6,500 CIBC employees participating from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
“We witnessed the true commitment Canadians have to this cause as thousands showed up in their communities to support and remember families and friends who’ve been impacted by breast cancer,” said Laura Dottori-Attanasio, CIBC’s Group Head, Personal and Business Banking and Executive Run Sponsor. “We know how passionate our clients and our team members are about supporting cancer-specific research. That’s why we proudly work alongside our friends at the Canadian Cancer Society, whose investments in life-saving breast cancer research and support programs like CancerConnection.ca, make a difference in the lives of Canadians every year.”
A CIBC Run for the Cure participant for the past three years, Kim Sutherland understands the impact of CancerConnection.ca. As a social worker, she helped clients and their families through life-changing illnesses. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer after her 56th birthday, she needed a support system of her own. While her friends and family were there for her during this difficult time, living in a rural community made it challenging for her to join an in-person cancer support group.
“One night before my cancer surgery, I signed up for CancerConnection.ca,” shares Sutherland. “Immediately, I got a notification and saw words of wisdom and support pour in from the community. I remember reading, ‘Welcome, you are not alone’, and I started to feel a trickle of courage. The Canadian Cancer Society provided me with connection – connection to a community, so I didn’t feel alone, connection to information, so I felt informed and empowered by knowledge, and connected to others who understood the emotional and physical journey of cancer,” she adds. Kim is now a community mentor on CancerConnection.ca so she can be there for others during their cancer journey.
Canadians can still donate to the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure at cibcrunforthecure.com.
The Canadian Cancer Society is the largest charitable funder of breast cancer research in Canada and is the only organization that enables a national support system, including Cancerconnection.ca and a nationwide helpline, that makes a real difference for people affected by breast cancer.