Road to Hope: The Road is Never Travelled Alone

Quick escape link leading to Weather Network websiteQuick Escape A group of runners and walkers raising money for YWCA Encore and supporting survivors of breast cancer at the Road2Hope marathon

This month, YWCA Hamilton is calling on our community to raise support for ENCOREPlus – the umbrella program that includes YWCA Encore, Pilates Beyond Breast Cancer and a Walk, Talk & Wander group. These programs directly support women in different stages of breast cancer recovery.

Anne Marie Collingwood, YWCA Hamilton Encore Coordinator and a breast cancer survivor, instructs and supports ENCOREPlus programs. She emphasizes, “These free, unique, and therapeutically designed programs are gentle on the body and are designed uniquely to meet each woman’s needs. By raising funds, we hope to continue to offer these ENCOREPlus programs free of charge”.

Along with the exercises, YWCA ENCORE programs are often accompanied with educational and informative talks by expert guest speakers on wellness and self-care related to breast cancer. Anne Marie’s role also functions as a community resource – she is able to guide and refer people to different services and programs that fit well for them. “We often partner with community partners that specialize in breast cancer and health and well-being – we want to spread the word about breast cancer awareness as far and wide as possible,” she explains.

As a breast cancer survivor, Anne Marie was curious about the exercise survivors could do to recover from their surgeries and maintain their health. In 2009, YWCA Hamilton started the ENCORE program to support breast cancer survivors in a positive and uplifting environment.

Over the years, ENCOREPlus has helped over 400 women with their breast cancer journey. Some of whom still come for community and to support the program. Anne Marie shares, “The program is essential for survivors as it fosters a sense of camaraderie and brings them community”.

We aim to raise $15,000 to support these initiatives and maintain the community and the camaraderie that survivors share. “We provide a safe, empowering, and nurturing environment where women know they are supported, understood and engaged”, Anne Marie shares.

ENCOREPlus offers life-changing program for survivors encompassing physical, emotional and social needs that is free for the women. Anne Marie expresses, “No matter where you are in your journey with breast cancer, we are here for you; we want to be the place for you.”

By being a charity partner with Road2Hope, we are raising money to support YWCA ENCOREPlus and there are several ways to participate. The funds raised will help to support these crucial programs in 2024. It is a great weekend, and we are also looking for people to come cheer the racers, fundraise, and show support. It is not just a race; we are there to have fun”, she comments. “Anybody can do it. We have women in their 80’s walking and supporting. If they can do it, anybody can do it”, she smiles and exclaims.

Anne Marie emphasizes that road to hope is never travelled alone and we are here to travel the road with the survivors. Here are some ways you can help:

Funds raised will sustain ENCOREPlus and directly support women in different stages of breast cancer recovery. All gifts – big and small – make a difference.

Show support by walking or running with us and survivors of Breast Cancer at Road2Hope on November 4th and 5th.

  • Come to cheer and support:

Join us at Road2Hope to cheer on the racers and survivors of breast cancer. It is a fun time! Exact detail locations on where to meet can be confirmed by emailing acollingwood@ywcahamilton.org

  • Spread the word about YWCA ENCOREPlus:

YWCA Hamilton ENCOREPlus helps and changes the lives of survivors of breast cancer by providing unique and free programs that help survivors post recovery and provide community. If you know someone who would benefit, please direct them to https://www.ywcahamilton.org/encore-plus/

With your support, we will be able to help more breast cancer survivors with their journey of hope.

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