Walking to End Cancer, Talking (and Listening) to Help Kids

This post was written by Doina Amudipe, plant controller at the Brita plant in Brampton, Ontario.

I volunteer for two different causes. The first is the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers walk. This 60-kilometer, two-day walk is held during the first weekend in September, and this is my third year doing the walk. The person who encouraged me to get involved is another Clorox employee, Catherine Ujihara. She’s been doing the walk for six years, and we’ve been working together for the past three years doing fundraisers as well as training for the walk. It’s been great to participate in this event with a friend and colleague.

Brita employees Catherine Ujihara, left, and Doina Amudipe at the 2012 Toronto Walk to End Women's Cancers

Brita® employees Catherine Ujihara, left, and Doina Amudipe at the 2012 Toronto Weekend to End Women’s Cancers.

The money raised from the walk benefits the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Center. My participation in the walk would not be possible without the support of my family, friends and co-workers in raising the funds needed to qualify for the walk, which is a minimum $2,000 per year. This year, as in previous years, my Clorox and Brita colleagues were a great support, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for helping me reach my fundraising goal.

This has been a great experience for me: I have made a lot of new friends and met some incredibly brave women. The weekend gives me a chance to remember the friends and family I’ve lost to cancer, but also to celebrate the lives saved. This is the 11th year for the Weekend Walk in Toronto, and over $133 million has been raised so far! With the money raised, some groundbreaking strides have been made in the fight against women’s cancer — which offers hope for every woman’s future.

Mentoring Middle-Schoolers

The other cause that I’m involved with is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel. I got involved last September, so this is my second year with BBBS. It is a commitment for the whole school year and involves picking up two girls, taking them to the group outing and dropping them off after the program. I am part of the group mentoring program for kids between 10 and 12 years old. Five volunteers mentor 10 children one weeknight per week from September through June. Groups participate in fun and skill-based activities such as cooking, sports, swimming, arts and crafts, science classes and more.

It is a great responsibility to serve as a role model, but it makes me very happy to be able to give back and teach young girls the importance of giving and giving back, staying in school and studying, and having respect for family, peers and community. It is also a lot of fun being able to be yourself and be a kid again. I don’t have children, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the program, having fun with the little and big sisters, and learning a few things myself along the way, like handling conflict between 11-year-olds, but also fun stuff like “all you need to know about Justin Bieber.”

My husband has been very supportive of my charity work, and I appreciate his encouragement and understanding for all the evenings he had to cook dinner or walk with me while training. Having the support of my family and friends means the world to me and allows me to continue my charity work on both causes.

Doina has been at the Brita plant in Brampton for eight years, currently in the role of plant controller. She loves Pilates, mountain biking and movies. She is passionate about learning new things, and learning French is her current project. She is looking forward to visiting France next year.