The Road to Hope is never travelled alone, and our community showed up with overwhelming support for survivors of breast cancer and YWCA ENCOREplus.
On the weekend of November 4th and 5th, the 2023 Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope brought together YWCA ENCOREplus Program Coordinator Anne Marie Collingwood, YWCA Hamilton staff, participants of the ENCORE program, and supporters of breast cancer survivors to walk, run, and cheer.
YWCA ENCOREplus is YWCA Hamilton’s umbrella program for breast cancer survivors that includes programs like YWCA Encore, Pilates Beyond Breast Cancer and a Walk, Talk & Wander group. These programs directly support women in different stages of breast cancer recovery and are offered at no cost to the participants.
The group, donned in pink, carrying signs and ringing cowbells, cheered on all runners and walkers including those raising funds for ENCOREplus and more than a dozen other local charities. “From the participants that have faithfully joined us year after year to the new enthusiastic walkers and runners, a huge round of applause!” Anne Marie adds.
Catherine a first-time participant and a walker, reflects, “the moment my daughter Colleen and I stepped onto Confederation Park, we could feel the energy and it was electric. When we started talking to other participants we could see how meaningful the walk was to everyone.”
“Our theme for this year’s Road2Hope race was “the Road to Hope is never travelled alone.” And how true it is…Every single race, from the kid’s 1km to the marathon, demonstrated the overwhelming encouragement and commitment to the women and the significance of the specialized programs we run. I was overwhelmed by camaraderie, energy, physical and emotional power, endless cheering, motivation, endurance, fun, and overall tremendous support,” shares Anne Marie.
”The YWCA Encore program has been such a positive influence in my life. I have met amazing women, participants and program leaders. It has brightened my cancer experience. I couldn’t have done what I did this weekend without the encouragement from so many friends and family” commented Maria, a participant of ENCOREplus program who participated as a walker in her first half marathon.
Heather, another team ENCORE 5km walker and participant of ENCOREplus, shares “When I attended my first Encore class and met Anne Marie, Debbie and the other women participants, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. My friends and family know how important the Encore program is to me and supported me with generous donations or the 5 km walk. I’ll be back to Move more for Encore next year and hope to walk 10 km!”
Thank you to everyone who fundraised, donated, and cheered runners and walkers at Road2Hope – your unwavering support will go a long way to support breast cancer survivors. Anne Marie concludes, “The Road to Hope is possible when we care and when we reach out to help in any way we can. You have shown that, and I am immensely grateful.”
Beyond Road2Hope, Duncan Young, Supervisor, Hamilton Active Living Centre, Putman Family YWCA, also hosted Laugh More for Encore, an evening of comedy, with the proceeds and donations going towards YWCA ENCOREplus. “Duncan’s comedy evening was well attended with laughter to be heard, I am sure, outside the building. It was so uplifting to see everyone sharing in the joy of humour with some good social time to end the evening”, adds Anne-Marie. Laugh More for Encore raised an incredible $1,785 – thank you Duncan and everyone who joined in!
With the support of our community, YWCA ENCOREplus raised $14,000 (and counting!) during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
You can still help breast cancer survivors and YWCA ENCOREplus all year long:
- Donate to YWCA ENOREplus: Donate here
Funds raised will sustain ENCOREPlus and directly support women in different stages of breast cancer recovery. All gifts – big and small – make a difference.
- Spread the word about ENCOREplus:
YWCA Hamilton ENCOREplus helps and changes the lives of breast cancer survivors by providing unique and free programs that help survivors post-recovery and provide a community. If you know someone who would benefit, please direct them to https://www.ywcahamilton.org/encore-plus/
For snapshots and pictures from the day, visit https://ywcahamilton.smugmug.com/Events/2023-Road-to-Hope-for-Encore/