St. Stephen – A little pandemic isn’t going to stop people from walking to raise funds for Charlotte County Cancer. It’s just going to change how things are done for this annual event. Charlotte County Cancer board of directors member Winnie Paul said they weren’t certain until nearly the very last minute if they were going to be able to pull off the Walk Cause We Care event this year, but they finally decided they were going to go for it. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 3 in St. Stephen, St. George, and on Grand Manan.
“We thought about doing it, and we thought about doing it, and we thought about doing it,” said Paul. “We waited right until almost the last minute before we decided we would do it. This year, things are really going to be done differently. We’re following the guidelines and regulations of our government. We’re going to be set up outside, and not having an inside gathering. Everyone has to wear a mask.”
One of the things that will be different this year is how they are going to do team registrations. Paul said only one person from each team will be allowed at the registration table at any given time, and only one team can register at a time. The walkers from each team will stay within their own bubbles in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.
“We’re not having one great big walk with 200 or 300 people. What we’re doing this year is each captain or team will come and register, then they go back to their bubble and they do their walk, so they’ll all be separated,” said Paul.
One might think that this would mean the walk is going to take much longer than normal, but Paul said this isn’t the case at all. She said one team will register, and then begin their walking as the next team registers. This way, social distancing can be observed, and the event can take place in a timely manner.
Paul said this has been a very strange year for planning any type of events, and she is thrilled that they are able to do the walk again this year. In the event that the Province does shut down this zone, the event will be canceled.
“It’s such a strange environment today,” said Paul. “You feel so cut off from the world. Even though we’re very lucky in Charlotte County, things are still different. We’ve got our hopes up that we’ll do well. Everyone’s been told in the event they close stuff down before October 3, we’ll be canceling. We’re abiding by regulations.”
Paul said Charlotte County Cancer formed over 50 years ago, and she decided to join the organization for personal reasons. She had cancer in 2002, and during that same time period, a brother-in-law developed brain cancer. Paul had never heard of the organization until they stepped in to help her brother-in-law, along with a friend’s mother who also had cancer at the time. She decided she wanted to pay it forward and help others in Charlotte County who are battling cancer. Since then, they have raised millions of dollars for the organization.
“Charlotte County Cancer helped my brother-in-law, and that’s the first time I ever heard of Charlotte County Cancer personally,” said Paul. “We thought, isn’t this a nice way to help Charlotte County Cancer. They worked with a small budget, and they helped the husband of one of my sisters, and a friend’s mother, so we decided we would do a walk. Our very first walk, we raised $25,000 and we just couldn’t believe it. So, this is our 17th walk, and we’ve raised almost a million and a half dollars in 17 years.”
Nearly all of the money raised from Walk Cause We Care and other events goes right back into the community. Paul said the only exception is a phone bill and a bit of advertising. No one involved with Charlotte County Cancer takes a salary of any kind. There are no expense accounts, and they don’t even have offices.
“We meet in kitchens at the legions, and every cent we make, other than maybe two percent goes back to the people of Charlotte County. It all goes back to our neighbors.”
Paul said those who are interested in taking part in the walk can download pledge sheets and get more information about the event at www.charlottecountycancer.com. She said along with individual pledges, they also have many corporate sponsors for Walk Cause We Care, including Cooke Aquaculture and Connors Bros. She said she completely understands if they don’t raise as much as usual this year, and just hopes that people will do what they can.
“We’re just hoping they can do what they can do. If they can’t do as much as they normally can, we fully understand.”