Jay – The Weekend To End Women’s Cancers

Losing it Ottawa has a team and you can join!

Have you wondered what The Weekend is really like? Thought that there is no way you could raise that amount of money? Thought that you might be interested in joining?

This is my third year walking. I LOVE the weekend. It’s inspiring, empowering, emotional and one of the best events I have ever been part of. At the end you feel like an everyday hero. You feel like you’ve accomplished so much. Not only did you raise a ton of money for life saving initiatives that stay right here in our own community, but you walked and walked far!

I have so much to say that I likely can’t put it all in a single post. Maybe I’ll make this a semi-regular feature until after the Weekend. Do you have questions you’ve been wondering about? Ask me and I’ll give you the scoop.

What is the weekend all about?
You decide to either walk 32km in one day or 60km in two days. In order to walk, you must raise a minimum amount of funds that are donated to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. The minimums are $1,250for the one day or $2,000 for the two day. Don’t let this scare you! There are lots of ways to raise money and the WEWC team is a huge support.  If you decide to join up – be sure to include the name of one of the Losing it Ottawa team members – they’ll get a $100 credit for having you join the team.

You train. Lots and lots of walking. My team did a few 20-25km training walks last year and they were wonderful! You learn you weaknesses – like making sure you have the right socks (highly recommend a trip to The Running Room!) and shoes. The WEWC even offers training walks that you can join throughout the city. They also offer Get in Step sessions which offers a great introduction to the Weekend.

The Weekend
You are taken care of! I have never slept in the tent as I have always opted to come home and have an epsom salt bath and sleep in my own bed, but it’s up to you!

Day 1:
You arrive and take it all in.  Get there early to check out the tents and grab some breakfast, coffee or juice. You gather for the opening ceremonies. Bring kleenex!  There’s a group stretch and your off.

Approx ever 2.5-3km there are pit stops. They alternate between Grab n Go stations (port a potties, water,  poweraid) and Pit Stops (port a potties, water, snacks to keep you going and Medic tents). There are also massage therapists located at the Pit Stops to help with any sore muscles or to stretch you out – these people rock! Along the route there are sweep vehicles all decked out, playing music, cheering you on. And if you need to they’ll pick you up and take you where ever you need to go – either the next pit stop or base camp. There is the motorcycle crew that help you cross safely and keep you entertained during the walk.  And there are the local business, stores and neighbours who make encouraging signs to keep you going, stand out side with their own refreshments for you, offering you to use the bathroom in their house! The support is like nothing you’ve seen before! You stop for lunch and keep going.  At the end of day 1 you are cheered in as you cross the finish line. Stay for dinner and watch (or even take part in) the fashion show. You even get a glass of wine or beer ;)

Day 2:
Arrive early and enjoy a yummy breakfast. If you need to have your feet looked after (blisters are not uncommon – but don’t let that scare you! Just train!) get there early. You don’t want to miss being played out by the bag pipes! And so it begins. It’s a bit tougher on day 2, I won’t lie to you. Your sore and tired. But OMG – you are doing it! You have fun and meet some incredible people.

Day 2 ends with a big finish (unless it’s pouring rain like last year – kudos to the Weekend staff and volunteers for that!). You  walk through on the pink carpet to music blasting, people cheering and waving signs. YOU did it.

Grab your victory shirt because you deserve it and get ready to cheer the rest of the walkers in. All walkers will be swept at a certain time to allow them to walk through the finish line and be there for the closing ceremonies – again, don’t forget your kleenex!

I have so many memories for the first two years I participated. The woman who parked her car, walked to the street and saw us walking. Asked if this was the Weekend. When we said yes, she cupped her chest and it became obvious she’d had a mastectomy, she looked at us and said “Thank you”.  Sitting in the crowd cheering the walkers in and looking across on the other side to see a women who was clearly going through treatment. And every time a walker crossed the finish line she stood up waving a big pink sign that said “Thank you!”. The “Dad” who drove his van along the route and parked it blasting the best music and his timing was perfect! We turned a corner to be faced with a hill  and what do we see. The Dad, 1/4 way up blasting the theme to Rocky! Just what we needed. Those are only 3, but they are strong and powerful for me. They put a lump in my throat just thinking about them.

You can do this! If you have questions – ask me! This is a journey you will not regret!

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11 Responses to Jay – The Weekend To End Women’s Cancers

  1. Maranda says:

    You forgot to mention how we can contribute! I can’t participate but I’d love to sponsor or help in some other way.

    It sounds so moving and inspirational. I’d love to be able to do it one day.

  2. kim d'angelo says:

    This is my first year taking part in the walk, and have a friend who has signed up with me. We are both finding the fundraising to be difficult and with chaotic lives are having a diffult time getting motivated. We are looking for a team…still looking for new members?!

    • Jay says:

      Hi Kim – it is such an amazing weekend! Yes – the Losing it Ottawa is definitly looking for more walkers! If you’ve already registered – just call the Weekend’s office (613-722-7224) and ask them to put you under the team. I hope your friend took advantage of the circle of hope credit when she signed up to give you a $100 credit! The staff at the Weekend Office are super nice and helpful.
      I have fundraising ideas too – I’ll try to stick that in a next post :)

  3. Sara says:

    Great post Jay – thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Ron says:

    Awesome commitment!

  5. Karen says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this. Now we need to get a good strong team going!

  6. Paul says:

    Hi fellow Weekenders!!! Jay this is an awesome review of the WEWC weekend in Ottawa. I have ‘crewed’ this event for 4 years and am inspired by all of the dedication of the walkers – some still under treatment. It is an emotional and spiritual weekend for us all.

    Someone asked how else they can help and having been a Crew Captain for 3 of the last 4 years, I can tell you that if you want to participate and aren’t able to do the walking, then there is ALWAYS room for Crew Members and Volunteers. Sign-up through the endcancer.ca site like you would as a walker and select Crew.

    The walk is always in need of truck drivers for driving the 26-foot rental trucks supporting the walkers throughout the weekend. People who are not physically able can simply drive the length of the route (known as sweep vehicles) and shuttle walers to the next stop-area, or to medical attention. There’s always something to help out with.

    Kim, you mentioned you were having a har time raising funds. My wife has walked 5 years now and she has perfected a great money-raising event where she holds a BBQ, sells tickets for $5 which includes a hambruger or hot dog, a back of chips, a soft drink and dessert. She advertises at her work and pre-sells (that’s the key to success btw) the tickets so she knows exactly how much she needs to buy (or get donated). She makes about $800 for this event alone. The other area that works well for her is direct-marketing. Target family members for donations – for the most part, you will be amazed at how generous family can be. Also print off “business cards” with the name of the event, your name, your goal and a link to the website and how to donate on-line. You’ll be amazed at how well this method works. Finally, make a donation to yourself in someone’s name. It sounds silly, but do you really need to buy one more birthday present, or anniversary gift for someone ‘just because’? Instead, make the donation to your walk, saying “you’ll walk in their honour”. The bonus is that when you donate $50, you generally get a portion of that back in income tax deductions, so that not only makes you the hero, but it also comes back to you in the form of a tax receipt.

    I hope to see you all at the WEWC in June. I’m the guy with the bright pink hair every year and our theme is Mardi Gras!!!

    We are “Saving Our Ta-Ta’s – CREW” and we’ll be there to cheer you on in June.

    • Jay says:

      Paul! I’m so glad you posted about Crew! Because of course the Crew are awesome and make the walk that much more enjoyable.
      Great fundraising ideas too! Thank you for taking the time to write those.

      The Mardi-Gras pit stops are so fun! It’s the little things that help get you by when walking…like collecting stickers, beads and lays.

      Your crew rocks!

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