The general public and CIBC FirstCaribbean staff, management, customers and corporate partners walked for the cure this past Sunday to join the fight for life at the bank’s third annual Walk for the Cure support initiative.

Walk for the Cure is a regional event with local iterations in each of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s 17 locations throughout the Caribbean. The funds raised from the New Providence walk will be presented to Sister-to-Sister Breast Cancer Support Group, The Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative Foundation, and the Cancer Societies in Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence.

A total of 348 walkers and runners of all ages smartly turned out in bright new Walk for the Cure T-shirts. They were all in good spirits and anxious to get started as they set off for the Sandals Resort from the Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre in West Nassau. Two avid fitness fans of note were present, Leslie Miller, member of Parliament for Tall Pines, and Miss World Bahamas Rosetta Cartwright. The walk followed the bank’s two-month pre-publicity awareness and fundraising activities that boosted the final amount raised.

Side note: Nurse Anita came to the event prepared only to help manage the medical booth. She had not planned to physically participate but ended up running and said she had an awesome run, “I killed it!” 

At Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre, walkers were refreshed with fresh fruit and water and gathered to listen to Jason Knowles’ moving narrative of his daughter, Zion’s fight with cancer. Necole Watson of Trinity City of Praise performed while Pastor Shawn McKenzie of Sunrise Ministries gave a brief sermon.

The most moving part of the event was the release of balloons, which brought those gathered to their feet in a moment of silence and contemplation. The Walk for the Cure was open this year to the public for registration, which boosted the numbers attending and the overall funds raised.

CIBC Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen was one of the participants and said the bank was “proud to support the initiatives” of these valiant local charities.

“For us, raising funds is not just a community initiative; it is an imperative representing a fierce commitment that spans across our entire business. This is the third year for the hosting of this event and we are pleased to have more than quadrupled our fundraising numbers in 2014 to over US$170,000 across the region,” she said.

She added: “We want to thank our staff who have collectively rallied in support of this cause and have raised US$31,454 in both funds and corporate sponsorship. To our corporate sponsors, we express sincere thanks for joining us in our efforts to build awareness of cancer which ultimately affects all of us. We are therefore humbled to have played our part in ensuring that persons battling this disease receive the necessary support to help them in their valiant fight.”

Platinum sponsor Sandals was an early responder to CIBC FirstCaribbean’s call for corporate sponsors and came out in force the day of the walk with 56 staff members and management participating. General Manager Patrick Drake said that partnering with Walk for the Cure was an easy decision and is in line with the resort’s own cancer month activities.

“Sandals, through our foundation, has always been looking to make a difference,” Drake said. “We’ve worked with the St. Jude Foundation in the past and we currently have the staff in pink every Friday to promote awareness. If each one can help one that is what it is all about.”

The sponsors for the event were: Platinum: Sandals; gold: Restaurants Bahamas Ltd. (KFC); silver: Baha Mar, Atlantis, Colina, MPLaw Chambers, John Bull Ltd., Elite Security Agency, Family Medicine Center, Valentines Residences Resort and Marina, Gippy’s Printing and TriPoint Communications.

Duquesa Dean, CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Customer Experience Manager, was one of the key organizers for the event.

“I am so proud of Team CIBC FirstCaribbean,” Dean exclaimed. “Over the past few weeks, our employees have been absolutely dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and finding a cure. Public support of our fundraising has been phenomenal. The turnout for the event was larger than ever with over 475 registrations, 250 of those came out to walk. Customers in our branches donated generously to the cause as well and we had quite a number of corporate sponsors who all helped to make this drive a success.”

Organizers are expecting much of the same support next year.