Canadian Mining Women Plow More Money into Fighting Breast Cancer – by Jane Werniuk and Kate Armstrong

The Women are back, and they’re walking (well, … just barely!).

We are referring to the nine-member team of the WOMEN IN MINING (WIM) Toronto Branch as they participated for the second time in the annual, 60-km Weekend To End Breast Cancer (WEBC) on September 6-7, 2008.

The walk benefits the Campbell Family Institute at the PRINCESS MARGARET HOSPITAL FOUNDATION in Toronto. The Princess Margaret is one of the top five comprehensive cancer research centres in the world. In total, 4,757 walkers supported by over 1,000 volunteers raised over $13 million this year for the fight to end breast cancer. The Foundation has raised $79 million since the inaugural walk in 2003.

The WIM Toronto Branch team trained over the summer and approached their friends, family and colleagues for donations. For the most part, the team only approached individuals this year, collecting just over $57,000 in about 300 donations. This included a major contribution of more than $20,000 from DE BEERS CANADA and its employees in honour of Faye Logan, a De Beers geologist who lost her life to cancer this summer. Other corporate donations came from SCOTT WILSON RPA, GOLDER ASSOCIATES, EXCELLON RESOURCES, SANDVIK and THE BEDFORD CONSULTING GROUP.

The WIM Toronto Branch team members all completed the 60-km walk without taking the subway, bus or accepting a ride, although it was tempting. There were a few blisters and lots of sore legs, which are now healing quickly. The team wore matching gold shirts and hats with the WIM Toronto Branch logo, and carried matching yellow plastic ponchos, which came in handy as it rained for parts of both days, adding to the sympathy factor.

Team members this year included captain Kate Armstrong (communications consultant), Fabiola Astuvilca (HR student at York University), Rosario Astuvilca (principal with Bedford Group), Amanda Fletcher (recently graduated student from Carleton University), Cathy Fletcher (personal financial consultant with the Investors Group), Ingrid Hann (VP human resources at De Beers Canada), Monica Ospina (lecturer at Seneca College and international trade/sustainable development consultant), Catharine Shaw (marketing co-ordinator, mining, for Golder Associates), and Jane Werniuk (geologist at large and former editor of Canadian Mining Journal).

Although the amount raised this year is a far cry from the more than $200,000 that the WIM team raised last year in the WEBC (which also happened to make it the top fund-raising team of 2007), there were good reasons. Riding on the momentum of last year’s success in this event, and coupled with the success of the WIM Vancouver Branch’s participation in the CIBC RUN FOR THE CURE also aimed at breast cancer research, the two WIM branches have combined forces to get behind a major new fund-raising initiative this fall. The Toronto and Vancouver WIM branches will shortly be unveiling their program with a micro-lending opportunity in South Africa, the Townships Project; they will be looking for strong corporate support among mining and exploration companies as well as supply and service companies. More on that in another column.

Most of the team has already signed up to do the walk again in September 2009. Please consider helping them by joining the team or donating your dollars. You can find out more about it at, under “Toronto, 2009”. You and the Women in Mining can help to make breast cancer history in our lifetime.