An Airdrie woman is in a dispute with the organizers of a popular walk that raises funds for cancer treatment and research.
The Weekend to End Women's Cancers is being held in Calgary this year on July 23 and 24. Participants walk 60 kilometres through the city over two days.
The required fundraising amount to walk for two days is $2,000, while one-day walkers have to raise $1,250. All money goes to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Lorna Robinson signed up for the walk with her daughter, who is a cancer survivor. Her daughter raised the $2,000 required to enter the event, but since they have the same family and friends, the donation well ran dry.
Robinson, who has volunteered as medical staff for the event in the past, only managed to raise $500, not enough to participate in the walk.
"I just think they've lost their focus," she said.
"They told me that if I walked with my daughter, my MasterCard would be billed for the balance of what money I haven't raised."
Since she can't walk the route, she requested that the money she had raised from her family and friends – who had also sponsored her daughter – be returned to the donors. But she says an organizer told her that would be too difficult to administer.
Wheelchair pushers must raise money
Robinson said she met a woman who is participating, but if she wants her teenage son to push her wheelchair he would have to raise the $2,000 as well.
Lee Elliott, a spokesperson with the Alberta Cancer Foundation, acknowledged that anyone pushing a wheelchair does have to raise the $2,000.
However, she denies that the foundation threatened to bill Robinson's credit card.
"If we had thousands of other walkers, walking along side supporting them – and that could be the case when we make an exception – then we can no longer ensure the health and safety of people along that route," said Elliot.
"What we have offered to anybody who has asked that in the past is that we have lots of crew and volunteers who will support them and make sure they get through the route."
The popular event has raised more than $22 million in Alberta over more than a decade.