For the first time at the Weekend to End Breast Cancer this Saturday and Sunday, the 60 kilometres the 1,000 or so participants who will walk won’t just benefit breast cancer.

This year, the fundraiser is directing funds to all women’s cancers, said Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation president and CEO Linda Eagen.

“It just made sense to do this,” said Eagen earlier this week. “So many cancers are connected, and people have been asking us for it. I think it will be very welcome in the community.”

Other details — like the money that’s raised in the region stays in the region — won’t change.

Even with economic difficulties, Eagen is confident that fundraising won’t be too greatly affected.
Cancer is too important a cause touching too many people, she said.

Eagen, who will be walking for the fourth year this weekend, said people have been just as supportive as in the past.

The funds raised go to areas of the greatest concern and need in the Ottawa community, including reducing wait times, supporting the expansion of the Irving Greenberg Centre at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital and purchasing chemotherapy equipment so that patients living in smaller communities can receive care closer to home.

Many of the people walk because they have been touched by cancer, said Eagen.

“Right now, in eastern Ontario, 16 people hear the words ‘you have cancer’ from their doctors everyday,” said Eagen.

“We’re not a huge area, and when you think that many people have been affected by cancer, it’s almost overwhelming.”

While not everyone can walk this weekend, there are things the public can do to show their support, Eagen said.

This year, there will be a fan zone at Alta Vista and Riverside Saturday between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., where people can gather to cheer on walkers as they pass.

Also new this year is a 2.5K and 5K walk for kids, organized after children asked what they could do to help.

The walk begins and ends at Rockcliffe Airbase.

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