We all come from different countries, speak different languages, and follow different cultural customs. However, from the mountains of Bhutan to the valleys in India, the deserts in Australia and the glaciers in Canada, I have yet to encounter someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way. In my own personal life, my father, grandparents, aunt and a very close family friend, some who thankfully survived and others who sadly passed away. In November 2020 I was devastated to hear that another friend was rediagnosed with cancer and I was then faced with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. Helpless that so many people that I loved were getting sick and that there was nothing that I could do about it. Helpless that the cures weren’t coming fast enough, and that there was nothing that I could do about that. Helpless that it was the middle of COVID and that I couldn’t even bring my friend a cup of tea. It was then when I chose to turn the feeling of helplessness into action.
That action came into creation through a simple question that I asked myself. What can I actually do to help? No, I couldn’t bring my friend a cup of tea and I definitely couldn’t find a cure for cancer, but surely there was something that I could do. I decided to create a fundraiser to support the Foundation Against Cancer Belgium, a charity that my friend spends a lot of time volunteering for. The idea was simple. I would ask 24 friends living in 24 different cities to each go on a walk for one hour, and the combination of the hours across the different times zones would equal a full 24 hours of walking around the world. I created an Instagram page for everyone to post their photos on and then something unexpected happened. The event started to spread and pick up momentum. A website was then needed with a registration link to keep track of all the eager walkers around the world.
The first World Cancer Walk resulted in over 1 000 people walking in more than 200 different cities. Positive feedback flooded in from patients, family members and cancer charities expressing the impact that the walk had on them and asking for a round two. It was at that moment that I realised the power of unity and connecting with one another. Connections that spread beyond different languages, cultures and customs. The following year we held the second World Cancer Walk, this time partnering with 9 charities. Over 3 300 people came together to walk as one in 250 different cities. Now here we are, only a few weeks away from the third World Cancer Walk and I invite you to join us wherever you are around the world. We can’t all physically be there to bring everyone we know with cancer a cup of tea, but we can come together to remember, to support, and to celebrate those affected by cancer. Together, from afar.
To register for the walk please visit www.worldcancerwalk.com and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Patient Advocate Inspire2Live