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Ed. note: We received the following e-mail from Randee Pollock, who asked whether we could assist in promoting a very worthy endeavour in which she and a group of women are involved:

Dear Bernie,
I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the nice weather. It seems as though many people are outside exercising after a long winter, which is what inspired me to write this letter to you. As the Challenge for Life 20 km walk for CancerCare Manitoba quickly approaches on June 13, I would like to share a story about love…a labour of love so to speak.
A few years ago, I was asked to join a team of incredible women, known as the Serratus Superstars, to complete the 20 km Challenge for Life walk in an effort to raise money for CancerCare. This is an annual fundraiser, specific to Manitoba that began in 2008, whereby each participant must raise a minimum of $1,000. The walk also raises awareness and encourages people to take an active role in their physical health to reduce the risk of cancer. The Serratus Superstars are not only gym buddies who exercise together on a regular basis; they also have close friendships outside the gym and have all been touched by cancer in some way. I don’t consider myself an avid fitness person but I enjoy the challenge of fundraising, especially for CancerCare, and decided that a good workout in the process can’t hurt. I lost my mother in 1997 to breast cancer, so this cause is very dear to my heart.
I joined the team in 2011 and have never looked back. The dedication and motivation of this team, not to mention the camaraderie amongst the women, is beyond description. Preparation for the walk includes regular practice walks in different parts of the city and often a cup of coffee to catch up on our lives, our kids, our jobs, etc. Around 6 years ago, the team decided to have a bake sale at the home of one of its members in an effort to raise more money, above and beyond the personal $1000 goal. Soaring sales led to larger venues the following years, namely Health Sciences Centre and CancerCare Manitoba. The results of the bake sale have been so successful that we have made it an annual event (always before the May long weekend) and have raised more than $10,000 to date. I forgot to mention that these women are not only interested in keeping their bodies firm and toned; they are also exceptional bakers. Because there is such great demand for our baking, we now have a pre-sale the night before the actual sale, at the home of one of the team founders. All the team members bake their specialties and the team also accepts baking from friends and family. Prior to the pre-sale, the team gets together to seal and wrap the baked goods and adds the final touches with ribbons and bows, which makes the living room look like a well-designed bakery. Once the doors open, the cookies, loaves, cakes, squares, dainties, biscotti, etc. are purchased, and an ample supply is set aside for the CancerCare sale. We even include sugar free and gluten free products. What I find most interesting is that we buy each other’s baking! It doesn’t matter that we all invest a great deal of time, energy and money in our own baking and are happy to donate it for the cause. Somehow we want to sample each other’s delicacies, so we support one another while supporting the cause. Some people even “buy back” their own baking. This is what I consider a true “labour of love”.
Last year was our most successful year to date. We raised approximately $3700 in baked goods alone. Not bad for a group of friends who appreciate the merits of exercise, baking and philanthropy! Who knows, maybe we’ll create a Serratus Superstars cookbook!! Our annual bake sale will be held on May 15 at CancerCare Manitoba from 9:00-1:00. Donations to Challenge for Life can also be made online to any of the participating walkers or teams. We appreciate all the support from family, friends and community, and always welcome new team members, especially those with culinary talents!
Best regards,
Randee Pollock

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