Pink RibbonCredit: Gordon SmithDo you want to raise money for charity? Then participating in a breast cancer walk is a brilliant thing to do. You'll not only be raising money for breast cancer research but you'll also be showing your support to patients and their families. By participating in a breast cancer walk, you'll be doing your bit to increase breast cancer awareness too. There are many different types and difficulties of breast cancer walks so there's sure to be one for your specific fitness level.

What is a breast cancer walk and how does it raise money for charity

Breast cancer walks are events where people come together and participate in a (long or short) walk in order to raise money for charity. Most large breast cancer walks are events organised by or on behalf of cancer charities. Sometimes they may be organised by businesses with the proceeds going to charity. Additionaly, sometimes smaller groups or individuals may organise their own walk with the proceeds going to a breast cancer charity. For this article, we'll be looking at some of the larger breast cancer walks rather than the small scale ones.

To participate in a breast cancer walk, you have to register and pay the registration fee. Then you go out and raise money for charity. Most breast cancer walks require a minimum amount of money to be raised. You can raise money for charity by asking people to sponsor your breast cancer walk or you can organise other activities to raise money. Once you've raised sufficient money, you in turn give it to the charity. Then you participate in your walk and hopefully have a nice time doing so.
The registration fee is used to cover the cost of staging the events so that all the money you've raised for the charity gets used to fund breast cancer research and to provide support to patients and families. 

Types of breast cancer walk

There are many types of breast cancer walk, ranging from very short walks to the more extreme treks. Some are reserved for women while others are open to everyone. Sometimes they can also be quite extravagant. I hope you'll find one that sparks your interest and would encourage you to participate in this very worthwhile cause.

Moonlight walks, also known as moonlit walks or moonwalks, are unique through the fact that they take place at night. The MoonWalk organised by Walk the Walk takes place in Edinburgh every June. Participants power-walk either a full or half marathon and dress up in decorated bras to raise awareness for breast cancer. The minimum money to be raised for charity is £100.
Shine, a similar event to the MoonWalk is organised each year in Glasgow, Manchester and London by Cancer Research UK. Though this isn't a walk specifically aimed at raising money for breast cancer, it allows you to choose which type of cancer, including breast cancer, you want to raise money for.

Named after the symbol for breast cancer awareness, Pink Ribbon Walks are walking events through the estates of Blenheim Palace, Cholmondeley Castle and Petworth House. So while you're doing your good deed, you get to walk 10 or 20 miles through the gardens and forests of these wonderful estates. You'll need to raise a minimum of £175 to participate in the Pink Ribbon Walk.

Waterway Walks, as the name suggests, are walks along the UK's waterways. The best known Waterway Walk is the Mon and Brecon Waterway Walk. This event features a number of walks along the Mon and Brecon rivers, ranging from 3 miles to 20 miles.

Mountain Challenges are in a league of their own. The UK's Ben Nevis is climbed most often as part of a breast cancer walk. Located in the Scottish Highlands, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK, reaching a hight of 1344 metres. The walk is nine miles long but the steepness and uneven terrain make this climb very demanding.

The most challenging walks are most definitely the treks. Treks are long distance walks, usually taking place over a number of days. There are a number of different treks both nationally or internationally. The most well-known treks are the 3 day charity trek along Hadrians Wall, the trek to Macchu Pichu in Peru and the trek to Mount Kilimanjaro. There are other lesser-known treks in the Sahara and along the Great Wall of China. These treks are physically very challenging and also require a substantial amount of sponsorship. The charity trek along the Great Wall of China for example requires sponsorship of more than £3000. Though in return for your efforts, you're likely to get an unforgettable experience.

Reasons to participate in a breast cancer walk

Obviously the main reason to participate in a breast cancer walk is to raise money for charity. If you're like me, you probably don't like just giving your money away, even if it is for charity. On the other hand, if you get something (immaterial) in return, then it becomes a whole different matter. Breast cancer walks do exactly this. You register and pay your entry fee. Then you raise money and on the day of the walk, you donate the money and have an enjoyable day in return. Depending on the type of charity walk you choose, this 'benefit' may be an afternoon spent walking the grounds of an estate or you may even have the trip of a lifetime when participating in a large trek.

The second reason to participate is to raise breast cancer awareness. Still too many women go undiagnosed until it's too late. According to Cancer Research UK, more than 125 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each day. As such, letting your family and colleagues know you're participating in a breast cancer walk will bring this awful disease to the forefront. But it doesn't stop there. A large amount of walks take place in cities where participants dress up in fancy dress or simply pink attire. This again draws attention to the breast cancer and makes people more aware.

The third reason is that you're publicly showing your support for cancer researchers, cancer sufferers and their families. It will give them a real boost and keep their spirits high to see that so many people find breast cancer and breast cancer research important. In fact, you'll find a large number of participants in breast cancer walks are recovering cancer patients.

The final reason to participate in a breast cancer walk is to improve your own fitness levels. Many participants, especially for the larger walks, will start training in advance. This regular exercise helps them to become healthier and fitter and hopefully they keep up the levels of exercise after the event too.