The View From Here – Alberta Cancer Foundation takes a walk on the exclusive side of the street

by Tom Henihan

Alberta Cancer Foundation’s ‘One Walk To Conquer Cancer’ is certainly one expensive walk.

An Albertan woman who lost her mother to cancer in April and wished to walk in her memory while raising money for cancer research was denied the opportunity to take part in the “One Walk to Conquer Cancer,” event because her fundraising fell short.

She learned shortly before the event that if she wished to participate in the walk she had to raise a minimum of $1,500 in sponsorship.

The Canadian Cancer Society and its provincial counterparts have the reputation of being excessively aggressive fundraisers to such an extent that the reason for raising funds becomes secondary to the single-minded, voracious appetite for raising vast amounts of money.

This approach is devoid of empathy for those directly or indirectly affected by cancer, that have neither the means nor the contacts to raise that kind of money.

One would think, considering the breathless urgency and cloying solicitation they often engage in to raise money that any contribution would be welcome and appreciated.

But apparently finding a means to conquering cancer is a job only for big money and of course they do raise big money, as is apparent by reading the lists of top fundraisers in the individual, cooperate and team categories.

The “One Walk to Conquer Cancer” website sells the event with this kind of language:

“The One Walk to Conquering Cancer, benefiting Alberta Cancer Foundation is your opportunity to be part of a game-changing movement to conquer cancer.”

Apparently, this is not a simple fundraiser; by participating you are part of a movement, an elite movement where initiation requires substantial resources.

The website goes on to say, “One Walk” brings together a powerful gathering of cancer survivors and supporters who fundraise and train for the event…

“After an inspiring opening rally,” participants walk 25km through “historic and cultural neighbourhoods” supported by hundreds of exceptional crews and volunteers.

Since when did walking require an inspiring opening rally and the assistance of exceptional crews and volunteers?

When participants have completed their walk through exclusive neighbourhoods they are then treated to the “finish line experience,” where they celebrate “their remarkable achievements with food, entertainment and more.”

Walking 25km is hardly a remarkable achievement and if it is, the opportunity to experience this achievement should be open to anyone wishing to do so.

One has to wonder what this event is! Is it an elite sporting event rather than a humble fundraiser for a worthy cause.

Has the Alberta Cancer Foundation abdicated its responsibility to those in a lower economic strata who have been affected by cancer, telling them the cannot participate and their contribution is not valued.

The organizers also boast on the website that “One Walk to Conquer Cancer” is a charity event like no other in Canada, and one can only hope that their claim is true, as in this instance charity never looked more uncharitable.

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