16 year old on a mission

Cancer is a six letter word that everyone fears.  As a Sweater Kitten, I am on a mission to help and find and cure.  My name is Felicia Northway, a sixteen year old student in Grade 11, attending Princeton Secondary School.  I am one of the fourteen, who happily call themselves a Sweater Kitten.  These amazing ladies consist of Stephane Wagner, Jayne Baggott, Szilva Devereaux, Mardi Hassell, Barb Jones, Kelsey Keglovic, Rhonda Kirkness, Colleen Lafernere, Vickie Marr, Kasia Mikulski, Sarah Perne, Jeannie Walker and Debbie Schwartz.  

Calling yourself a Sweater Kitten doesn’t always come easy.  Together amongst thousands of other people, we walk through the streets of Vancouver on a two day route raising money for breast and gynecological cancer care and research.  As a participant of the Weekend to End All Women’s Cancers, there is a minimum of raising $2000 each.  We have raised almost $30,000 together as a team in 2010, with the five year total exceeding $100,000.

Bright and early on Saturday morning, the B.C. Cancer Foundation announced that 1,100 participants raised over $2.4 million dollars.  In the past six years, the Weekend to End All Women’s Cancers events have allowed the foundation to invest over $16 million dollars in breast and gynecological cancer research and programs at the B.C. Cancer Agency.  The eight annual weekend will be held on August 134-14, 2011.  After hearing this amazing news, the walkers hit the streets of Vancouver, 30 kilometers to cover on Saturday.  With a spectacular day of sunshine and support, the walkers make their way into tent city.  A field is covered in a sea of blue tents,where the walkers rest up to hit the streets for day two with another 30 kilometers to cover.  

There are days where it seems like raising the minimum will be impossible, but when reality kicks in, there is no such thing as an impossibility of raising $2000 when you make the realization of what these cancer patients are faced with every .  i have endless amounts of support with the people in my life, friends and family.  My parents have been there every step of the way.  i decided to walk in 2007, at the age of 12.  It was an unbelievable idea to many who claimed they would become more serious after  I raised the first $1000.  I did it and that is when the support started flooding in.  My main source of fundraising is done through returning empty beverage containers.  i takes a lot of cans to raise $2000.  This is when the Sweater Kittens and Snow Golf come into play.  Snow Golf helps the Kittens achieve $2000 per walker.  My parents have been absolutely amazing from their help in fundraising to driving me 3.5 hours to Vancouver with multiple posters cheering me on throughout the days.  2011 will be my fourth year participating in the weekend.  I wish it could be my last in hopes of finding a cure, but I fear it will not be.

The money raised benefits the B.C. Cancer Foundation.  There will never be too many walkers participating in the event, nor enough money raised.  The event staff treat the participants absolutely amazing, leaving no one in the dust.  There are support vehicles everywhere you look.  if you feel incapable of going any further, you don’t have to take one more single step.  The team will take you to the finish or the next pit stop.  There are cheerful posters decorating the street, ribbons on railings and fences and pink lining the path.  There are pit stops every few kilometers, keeping you hydrated, never leaving you hungry, so my question for you is why aren’t you walking?

My motivation has been the ability to walk for those for have lost their own battle.

For more information visit the Kitten’s website http//sweaterkittens.wordpress.com or the weekend website www.endcancer.ca