The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada held its first annual Brain Tumour Walk in Whitehorse June 15, where participants managed to raise almost $24,000 for brain tumour research and awareness.
The Brain Tumour Foundation raises funds for brain tumour research and awareness, as well as support for brain tumour patients and survivors. Every summer, they hold fundraising walks in many cities throughout the country.
Event organizers estimate that “over 100” participants came out to the walk, which took place on Whitehorse’s Millennium Trail. Compared to larger cities that also held walks, Whitehorse managed to raise a lot of funds, said event volunteer and coordinator Alexandra Armstrong.
“We raised one sixth of what Calgary raised, but we’re far less than one sixth of their population,” she said. “We made a huge dent.”
Although this was the first walk in Whitehorse officially organized by the foundation, an unofficial walk was held last year by Dayna Magnuson, a Whitehorse resident who was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2018.
After undergoing surgery in the same month as her diagnosis, she learned about the foundation and realized that the Yukon was one of the only regions in Canada without a walk.
“I got in contact with them and they encouraged me to do a do-it-yourself walk,” she said.
She organized one for that year, which turned out more successful than she anticipated.
“I was hoping to raise like $1,000, but we actually raised like $15,000.”
After the success for that event, the Brain Tumour Foundation invited Magnuson to attend a conference in Toronto, where officials announced that they would be holding their first walk in Whitehorse.
Armstrong and Magnuson credit the foundation with bringing along more sponsors, advertising, volunteers and a larger turnout. However, Armstrong added that Magnuson’s work in raising awareness was critical in bringing people to the event.
“A lot of it was effort through Dayna, despite going through radiation and chemo. She still went out there and really advertised it and got a lot of talk around for it.”
Magnuson hopes that next year’s walk will be even bigger, noting that brain tumours gets less donations than other forms of cancer.
“It’s so underfunded, and yet 27 Canadians are diagnosed with brain tumours everyday,” she said. “If there’s no funds, there’s no research.”
Julie TerVrught, walk and engagement and events associate for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, came to Whitehorse to attend the event. She said it was “wonderful” to bring the walk to Whitehorse.
“Whitehorse is an incredibly generous community, and it was great to see the support in terms of donations that were made, their enthusiasm, their support (and) their willingness to help out with anything,” she said.
She was also enthused about the amount of funds they were able to raise, despite Whitehorse’s smaller population.
“It just shows how much support Whitehorse shows towards other good causes. They threw their support behind Dayna and other walk survivors wholeheartedly.”
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