Stepping up support for breast cancer

CORNWALL, Ontario – It was a party in pink at the Cornwall Square on Sunday.

For the fourth consecutive year, dozens rallied at the annual Connect with Christal and Cleo – the long-running Cleo Mother’s Day Walk for Breast Cancer with a Zumba partnership.

The energy from the crowd and instructor Christal Bowen was contagious. As the pulsating beats and pounding bass of dance music blared downstairs, breast cancer survivors and their supporters walked upstairs.

First-time participant Lindsay Cumming was invited by her teaching colleague from the Ontario Hockey Academy.

“It’s amazing to see so many people here – especially on such a nice day,” said Cumming.

“Everyone’s family has cancer. I had cancer, but I’ve been in remission for two years.”

Although it was in a different form, Cumming knows the toll the disease takes on a person and their support system.

“This is a personal thing for me – my sister-in law and two of my closest friends are survivors,” said Julie Jarvo.

A regular at the event, she raised $1,100, beating her previous personal best: $850.

Jarvo added: “Everyone is smiling, having a ton of fun, and burning lots of calories. But at the end of the day we’re raising amazing dollars for a huge cause, so there’s nowhere else I would rather be on a Sunday morning. I’m very proud to be part of this family.”

Val Bowen manned the DJ booth as Christal led the party.

“When Cleo first collaborated with Z with C, they really saw an influx in how amazing the results were as well as the new energy at the event,” said Bowen.

Funds raised through additional Zumba classes also added to the cause.

Nicole Rose, Cleo store manager, said the event already beat last year’s total even before the final tally was done being counted. All proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. The walk also took place at over 70 store locations across the country.

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