For Barbara Penney raising much needed funds for the Canadian Cancer Society has become a family affair. Barbara, her sisters, aunts, nieces and friends have been participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure in St. John’s since 2001 – the same year her sister Madonna was diagnosed with an aggressive and advanced breast cancer.

That year Barbara and several of her family members registered individually for the CIBC Run for the Cure. As they took their first steps at that very first run, they knew they were about to embark on something special. The enthusiasm, support and overwhelming sense of hope on display was uplifting. It was then and there that Barbara’s sister spearheaded their own team – Circle of Friends.  And they have not missed a walk since!

Since 2001, many of Barbara’s friends and family have been diagnosed with cancer, some who have lost their fight, and in 2015 Barbara was also diagnosed. Despite the struggle and loss, the Circle of Friends Team has never wavered in their commitment to the Run. As survivors, participating in the walk is a way to give back while supporting others.

“The Run represents a chance to connect with fellow survivors and women currently living with breast cancer. Every person at the Run is connected by cancer – a connection and bond that drives us forward,” said Barbara.

The Circle of Friends Team has raised $232,000 for much needed research and support services, such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Breast Cancer Retreat. This coming year Barbara will be participating in her 20th walk; and along with the Circle of Friends Team they plan to raise $18,000, bringing their total to quarter of a million dollars!

Barbara is not one to boast about their efforts, but we feel her and the entire Circle of Friends Team deserves a special shout out. After all, they are one of the top fundraising CIBC Run for the Cure teams in Canada! Since 2005, they have received the Women’s Team Challenge Award for raising the most funds year-over-year for the St. John’s event. We have also been told that Barbara is the team’s top fundraiser, raising close to $34,000 over the years. Way to go Barbara!

Madonna, Barbara’s sister and the Circle of Friends Team captain says, “Barbara is an extremely motivated and determined team member and her fundraising skills are exceptional. She is always there to assist me and all the other members of the team in reaching our goals.”

Barbara is forever grateful to everyone who supports the team every year. “My Ocean Choice work family is among my biggest supporters – not only my co-workers, but the company itself comes on board every single year. I am blessed to have so many people supporting our team,” adds Barbara.

While a lot has changed since their first walk one thing remains the same, Barbara and the other members of the Circle of Friends Team are committed to continuing to raise funds for cancer one step at a time.

Barbara is an Accounts Payable Analyst with Ocean Choice. For over 18 years, her positive outlook and spark for life brings much joy to the office. Barbara is Ocean Choice’s longest standing employee, something that she is extremely proud of…. And so are we!

The CIBC Run for the Cure is Canada’s largest single day, volunteer-led event in support of the breast cancer cause. Today, the event has over 80,000 participants and raises $16 million annually in communities across Canada.