Together in Spirit

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrup ting their lives and upending so many of their plans, they could have said, “Sorry, not this year.” But to their credit and our good fortune, Alex Trichas and his business partners Nick, Chris and Andre Dimopoulos of the family owned Groupe Dorval-Sources-St-Henri were determined to hold their annual Walk-a-thon for Hope & Cope’s Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation Program – a 13-year tradition so strong that it could not be broken.

“Cancer doesn’t stop for COVID-19. The needs are great – perhaps even greater because of the isolation and disruptions caused by the pandemic,” said Alex. After consulting extensively with Hope & Cope staff, Alex and his family came up with a plan for a fundraiser that would respect public health safety measures.

Gathering 200+ walkers on the grounds of Parc St. Maxime in Chomedey, Laval in the midst of a pandemic was a non-starter. Also out – sadly – were the Greek coffee and delicious pastries offered before the walk as well as the mouth-watering barbecue lunch on the grounds of the park, cooked up by Gus Anagnostaras and his crew, and the raffle with a slew of tantalizing prizes. Instead, participants were encouraged to complete the 7-km walk – either alone or within their bubbles – in their neighbourhoods, favourite parks or walking trails.

On the morning of September 13, 2020, all across the Island of Montreal and beyond, participants proudly walked along their

chosen routes. Even the light rain that fell late that morning could not dampen their spirits!

COVID-19 did not stop the Calderon family from making their way to Parc St. Maxime to walk in memory of their mother and grandmother, Rosa Maria Cisneros. Sadly, Rosa Maria, who loved training in the Hope & Cope gym, passed away in 2018, a mere two weeks before the walk. Her family promised her that they would keep walking every year in her memory, to continue supporting a cause that meant so much to her.

Cancer survivor Paula Shuster, an avid participant in this annual walk-a-thon, explained why she would not miss it for the world. “Hope & Cope’s Cancer Exercise and Rehabilitation Program has given me invaluable support in my cancer survivorship journey. I really believe that exercise is the key to keeping myself healthy and strong,” she said, before setting out on her solo walk.

“We were gratified by everyone’s enthusiasm and their sense of purpose,” noted Alex. “Although we could not be together physically, we were definitely together in spirit.”
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