The fifth annual Climb for Cancer has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fundraiser, which raises money to support the Kordyban Lodge, was slated for April 18. Organizers say they intend to hold the event once it is safe to hold large gatherings again, possibly in the late summer.
"Due to the rapidly-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult at this point to pick a new date for the Climb for Cancer," planning committee chairman Doug Bell said in a press release issued on Wednesday. "That being said, I wan to assure people the Climb for Cancer will go ahead at a later date and that all donations raised to date and moving forward will go to the Kordyban Lodge."
Organizers still hope to raise $75,000 from the event this year, up from $65,000 in 2019. The Climb for Cancer has raised $172,000 for Kordyban Lodge since the event began in 2015.
Kordyban Lodge provides accommodation for approximately 800 people each year receiving treatment at the BC Cancer Centre for the North at the University Hospital of Northern B.C.
"Cancer patients still need to receive treatment during this unprecedented situation and are at high-risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19 as their immune systems are often weakened by cancer and treatment. The Kordyban Lodge is still open but operational changes have been made to ensure the safety of guests," the statement issued Wednesday said. "The Canadian Cancer Society is assessing the situation daily and will prepare for the possibility that plans might need to change."
Precautions taken at the facility include having office staff work from home, limiting visitors, increased screening and infection control measures, and a move to single-occupancy rooms. The wig and prosthesis banks are temporarily closed as social-distancing is not possible in these areas of the Kordyban Lodge.
"The Climb for Cancer is the main annual fundraising event for the Kordyban Lodge but donations are needed and accepted year-round," the press release said. "The Kordyban Lodge has an annual operating budget of around $1-million and donations are relied upon to help cover the costs associated with providing a safe and affordable home-away-from home for people from central and northern B.C. communities receiving cancer treatment in Prince George."