UFCW 500 activists raise $25K for blood cancer research by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Montreal – January 10, 2019 – Two years ago, Geneviève Grenier, the Labour Education Director for UFCW Canada Local 500, got a crazy idea: she would raise $25,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) by climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro with three of her colleagues.

To realize their goal, the Local 500 “KilimandjHÉROS” team members worked hard on several fundraising projects. Much of their inspiration came from their “survivor ambassador” Noémie Bourgouin, the young daughter of a fellow UFCW Canada member who has courageously battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia since she was 18.

The team members sold bracelets, chocolates, candies, plants, and LLSC-themed articles for an entire year. They also organized 50-50 draws, a corn roast, and many bagging sessions with UFCW grocery partners.

They did all of this while training intensively and switching to healthier lifestyles so that they could climb the nearly 6,000-metre high Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano located in Tanzania, Africa.

By the end of 2018, the Local 500 “KilimandjHÉROS” team members had raised enough money to face their ultimate challenge – the Kilimanjaro peak in Tanzania. They started at the Lemosho Gate in Kilimanjaro National Park, at an altitude of 2,100 metres, where they met the guides and porters who would accompany their group of 27 climbers.

“During that challenge, which lasted nine days, we spent five to seven hours a day walking through landscapes that got more and more beautiful as we climbed,” says Grenier. “Africa is splendid, and we were blown away by the vegetation and the mountains around us. As well as having to carry equipment bags weighing up to 15 kilograms (33 pounds), our porters had to prepare the next campsite before our arrival each day. We were very impressed by the hugely demanding work that they all performed with such joy and good humour,” she adds.

“We reached the summit after more than ten hours of trekking in the cold. But the challenge didn’t end there, because we had to go back down. The descent came with a huge degree of difficulty, sucking up all of our energy. When we got back, the feeling of accomplishment wiped out our discomforts. We would like to thank our partners, including UFCW 500 and the LLSC, for their great generosity throughout our fundraising campaign,” says Grenier.

UFCW Canada’s Fundraising for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada

As the largest annual fundraiser for the LLSC, UFCW Canada and its Local Unions have raised over $41 million to help find a cure and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers. To learn more about UFCW’s efforts to support the life-saving research, education, and outreach efforts of the LLSC, click here.