The Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend To End Women's Cancers announces Rogers Centre as host venue for the 2013 event & unveils new 60km route through Toronto's iconic cultural districts

Paul Alofs, President & CEO of Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation shared highly-anticipated event details on 4th annual National "Wear It Pink Day"

TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - The Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend To End Women's Cancers released highly-anticipated event details citing Rogers Centre as the 2013 start, finish and over-night camp venue, before unveiling news of a new 60km route through Toronto's iconic cultural districts on 4th annual National "Wear It Pink Day."  The announcement is part of a broader effort by The Toronto Weekend and The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation to create an unprecedented event experience for the 11th consecutive year.

"2013 kicks off a new decade for The Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend To End Women's Cancers, and marks our 11-year anniversary holding this extraordinary event," said Paul Alofs, President & CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, beneficiary of The Toronto Weekend.

"As part of our effort to create an unforgettable experience and take The Weekend event experience to an entirely new level, we're thrilled to announce our 2013 Weekend walkers will truly feel like champions as they start and finish two days of walking to cheering crowds, pumping music and festivities at Rogers Centre.  In addition, we're setting up our entire camp and tent city on the field at Rogers Centre, which means in addition to enjoying hot showers, world-class cuisine and thrilling entertainment The Weekend has become known for, our walkers will have an unprecedented opportunity to actually sleep on the field in one of the most dynamic sports and entertainment centres in the world," Alofs added.

In 10 years, The Toronto Weekend raised over $133 million for breast and gynecologic cancer research, treatment and survivorship programs at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, making it the largest multi-day walk for women's cancers in North America.  The annual event brings together communities of cancer survivors and their supporters who spend months fundraising and training for the two-day walk.

"Eleven years ago, I stood on stage and shared my cancer story at the CNE during the closing ceremonies for the first ever Weekend to End Breast Cancer," said Gina Pace, an 11-year-walker from Toronto.

"I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and breast cancer during my first year of marriage at the age of 32, and received excellent care from my incredible doctors at The Princess Margaret.  Since then, I've walked in every Weekend event held here in Toronto, and will continue to walk for as long as I can.  I find it to be an incredibly moving and gratifying experience, and one that seems to get better and better each year," Pace added.

Alofs acknowledges incredible advancements made in 10 years for research, treatment, care and prevention programs for all women's cancers thanks to The Weekend, and says there is much more to be done to help advance Personalized Cancer Medicine through The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

"Funds raised through The Weekend support our Billion Dollar Challenge, a 5-year initiative announced in 2012 to help The Princess Margaret Centre lead the way in Personalized Cancer Medicine.  Personalized cancer medicine is made up of four pillars: to Detect cancer earlier, diagnose cancer more precisely, target treatment for each patient and support patients and their families through the cancer journey," Alofs said.

In addition, Weekend funds enable The Princess Margaret to attract and retain world-leading scientists such as Dr. Tak Mak and his team of more than 130 researchers and scientists at The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute; and provided the initial funding needed to pilot The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre, a ground-breaking centre at The Princess Margaret where patients can receive their assessment, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment plan in 24 hours.  The centre sees over 1,500 patients annually.

"Women who are referred to the centre by their family physician can have a physical, a mammogram, an ultrasound, even a tissue biopsy; and then get the results from a surgeon, all within 24 hours," said Alofs.

"Until recently, this process would take several weeks, and in some cases, months," Alofs added.

Alofs says each year, they put significant thought, care and detail into the planning and execution of The Weekend's event activities, and they aim to make the experience more dynamic than the year before.

"The Rogers Centre as a venue offers an entirely new experience and vibe as we kick-off The Toronto Weekend in 2013 and we are most thankful to the Rogers Centre, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rogers family and Paul Beeston, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Toronto Blue Jays for their generous support sponsoring our event.  In addition, the all-new route, 60km over two days, will take our walkers along the beautiful waterfront and through many of the diverse and cultural neighbourhoods of Toronto.  Our participants will find they are literally discovering the world, right here in our own backyard and we invite all of Ontario to join us," Alofs added.

Participants can register for the 2013 Shopper's Drug Mart Weekend To End Women's Cancers at www.endcancer.ca or by calling (416) 815-9255The 2013 Toronto Weekend will be held on September 7th and 8th of this year.

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SOURCE: WEWC/RTCC/UA events c/o CauseForce

For further information:

MEDIA CONTACT:
Ailish Steele      
Senior Communications Manager, The Weekend To End Women's Cancers 
416.577.9255     
asteele@endcancer.ca