A New Dimension
My publisher, Ray Perks, could be forgiven for wondering if I have recently morphed into a part-time sales-woman. It’s not that I’m hunting down ads or selling subscriptions door to door. It’s because I have taken to heart a new commitment: fund-raising for medical research, specifically for breast cancer.
One dimension is the time commitment. To prepare my body for the two-day, 60-km, Weekend to End Breast Cancer walk around Toronto Sept. 8-9, I have to walk at lunchtime, in the evenings and on weekends. Walking is not hard, it just takes time.
More time-consuming has been the fundraising. I am part of a team of eight walkers who belong to the 200-strong Women in Mining network of Toronto. During a power lunch after a 10-km march in early June, one of the walkers (she wasn’t even on our team!) threw out a wild challenge. “Why don’t you try to raise the largest amount of donations of any team in the walk?” This is a big walk, with over 5,000 participants and many established teams. It seemed like a good idea, in the warm glow of tired muscles and full stomachs, although none of us knew what amount we were looking at. Later that afternoon we found out: it would take a cool two hundred grand ($25,000 each) to be in the running. At that time our team total was $17,000, and our families, friends and colleagues were pretty well tapped out.
After a few days of stunned silence, the e-mails started flying. We came up with a tactic: get the attention of corporate sponsors, ones that have done well from the current mining boom and can afford to support us. Reaching deep down for marketing skills we didn’t know we had, we came up with a hook: if your donations can make us the top-earning team, we will use that publicity as a platform to show that the mining industry provides good work for smart, powerful women (like us).
Come September we can be the public face for an industry trying to show that it supports the communities where it works, including Toronto, and understands the importance of attracting new groups to the workforce. Getting that message to the right ears sounds cheap at the price.
By the time you read this column, the walk will be coming up soon, and I hope our team will be near its $200,000 fundraising goal. You can see how near by checking out www.endcancer.ca, clicking on “Toronto”, “Donate”, “Search for a team” and type in “Women in Mining Network”. There you will find a list of our many corporate sponsors. If your company is not on the list, or we’re not quite at our goal, consider making an online donation. Whatever our final amount is, we are extremely grateful to the hundreds of people and companies who have championed us in the fight against breast cancer.