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Walk of Hope raises awareness, money for ‘a silent killer’

More than 500 people took part in the annual Walk of Hope. Natasha Pace/Global News

Halifax — More than 500 people came together Sunday morning in Halifax to try to make a difference in the health of women across the country.

With each step, they are looking to fight ovarian cancer.

“I’m a two year survivor. My last treatment was two years last week,” said Joanne Rivest.

Rivest is taking part in the walk along with her wife, who is also a cancer survivor.

“We went through this twice now and it’s just one of those things that you have to be out there, you have to tell people what’s going on. You need to be visible.”

Joanne Rivest wears the name of a friend who passed away from ovarian cancer 8 months after being diagnosed. Both Rivest and her wife are cancer survivors. Natasha Pace/Global News

The Walk of Hope is a way to unite those who have been touched by ovarian cancer and to help spread awareness about the disease.

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“Women don’t realize the symptoms. The symptoms mimic far less serious things; bloating, indigestion, abdominal pain or discomfort,” said Emilie Chiasson, Ovarian Cancer Canada.

It’s estimated that 2,800 women in Canada will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, making it the fifth-most common cancer for women.

“It’s actually the most fatal female cancer and that’s because it gets diagnosed late, and because it gets diagnosed late the outcomes aren’t great,” Chiasson tells Global News.

The Walk of Hope started in 2002. It’s now the largest and most powerful event of it’s kind in Canada, with walks held in 45 communities nation-wide.

At the Halifax walk, volunteers surpassed the goal of $100,000 before the event even started. Everyone taking part wants to help spread the word about the disease.

“It’s a silent killer,” Rivest says. “On my back I wear a woman’s name who, eight months from the time she was diagnosed, she died – 51 years old. Too young, way too young”

All money raised will go towards education and research.

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