When Kim Rowntree approached Ovarian Cancer Canada in 2008, it was to hold a Winners Walk of Hope, a traditional fundraiser for Ovarian cancer research and awareness.

Ovarian Cancer Canada was reticent to approve a fullblown walk... after all, Barrie had never hosted such an event; there was no database of support. "Best to do a semi-sponsored mini walk," they said, declining to include the community on its major walk website.

Well, OCC didn't know Barrie very well, but they do now!

Four women, all connected by Ovarian cancer, undertook to organize last year's event and the little mini walk raised more money and involved more people than major OCC sponsored walks in major cities across the country. The same women--Kim Rowntree, Laura Zawadiuk, Hayley Marchildon, and Kristine Andreadis--are putting their organizing muscle to this year's event and they expect to involve many more people and raise much more money.

So, this Sunday at 9 am as more than 250 walkers sign in and don their Winners Walk of Hope T-shirts, they'll be supported by Olympian Figure Skater Elizabeth Manley (who just lost her mother, Joan, to Ovarian cancer in June). They'll be encouraged by corporate sponsors from across the city. They'll be serenaded by the Barrie Huronia Soundwaves, the Sweet Adelines chorus whose founding member Jackie Marchildon continues to battle this disease.

Local media personality, Kool FM's Deb James, will be walking with her radio team. The Advance's Charmaine Nolan is walking in celebration. A team from Ovarian Cancer Canada will bring head office energy to this newly minted major walk. The Kempenfelt Pipes and Drums will pipe walkers to their first steps, duplicating the tradition started in 2002 by piper Peggy Truscott. Winners, with two stores in Barrie, is the walk's title sponsor.

So many individuals and companies have come together to make this year's walk significant in this community. Men are walking for wives and sisters. Women are walking for mothers. Mothers and fathers are walking for daughters.

Draws, prizes, refreshments, generous community gifts... it'll all be there at the Southshore Community Centre at 9 am this Sunday. The walk kicks off at 10 am. Chairman Kim Rowntree is delighted to have the Southshore as a gathering celebration place at the conclusion of the walk. It's a great place to celebrate, regardless of the weather.

You can walk. You can pledge a walker. You can show up to cheer and encourage, to hand out water, to help people sign in. There are so many ways and each is significant. Money raised in this walk goes to Ovarian cancer research. Camaraderie raised during this walk goes straight to the heart, the most healing place of all.

Thanks, to organizers and contributors, for caring.

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