The weather cooperated for the survivors, previvors, and families of those affected with ovarian cancer who participated in the 2023 Walk of Hope in Winnipeg.

Christa Slatnik and Cindy Sanchez, formerly of Portage la Prairie, were the co-chairs for the event held at Kildonan Park on September 10th. Slatnik says there were over 400 participants.

"We were able to raise over $65,000 locally, so far, and money is still coming in. Toronto continues to collect money for the rest of the month as September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month," says Slatnik. "So, money is still coming in. We had a great day for the 20th walk in Winnipeg."

The identical twin sisters were first inspired to join the walk after their mother Cheryl Pragnell, passed away from ovarian cancer in 2000. She was the assistant director of nursing at the Portage General Hospital.

"Shortly after that, we both started working as gyne-oncology nurses at Women's Hospital (in Winnipeg) on the same unit that she was diagnosed and had her surgery, with her same team of doctors," says Sanchez. "We met so many other amazing women who were affected by ovarian cancer, and their families, and unfortunately, lost many amazing women like we had lost our mother, as well."

In 2004, they volunteered for the inaugural Walk of Hope and have been co-chairs for the Winnipeg walk each year since 2005.

Slatnik notes that genetic testing has improved a lot over the last decade, and it wasn't available back in 1998 when their mother was first diagnosed at the age of 51. Now, genetic testing can be done, which allows for better treatment options to help people live longer, better lives. Both sisters found they did have a gene that put them at risk, which allowed them to get risk reduction surgery.

Sanchez says the day after the walk this year, the two sisters had their ovaries and uteruses removed. She hopes telling their stories will help other women come forward to talk to their healthcare team if there is a history in their family.

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