NORTH BAY -- After bringing Strides for Melanoma to North Bay for the first time three years ago, a local family affected by the skin cancer is continuing to give back.

Christopher Piekarski, the coordinator for the local walk, said there is a personal reason why his family brought the nationwide initiative to the city.

"My mom was originally diagnosed a couple of years ago and she went through her trials and challenges with melanoma and for a while, it was looking pretty grim for her. Our family was obviously heavily affected," said Piekarski. "Then she was able to get in touch with the Melanoma Network…they got her in touch with a couple of different survivors and network people who were able to kind of give her that extra push to go forward with the treatment."  

Piekarski said his mom has been melanoma free for a few years now but wants to give back to the people that really helped her through a difficult time.

"We're just doing anything that we can to help," he said. "Any bit of money, any bit of education or awareness goes towards helping those who need it."

So far, the local chapter is almost halfway to the goal of raising $8,000. Nationally, the goal is

$215,000 and the money will go towards free services and programs that are offered by the Melanoma Network of Canada.

The annual five km walk that usually takes place at the North Bay waterfront has gone virtual this year, however, people are still encouraged to walk within their social circle and post videos and pictures online.

"It's a little bit different in terms of execution because you can't really encourage people to go out if they don't feel safe or comfortable," said Piekarski. "So it's a matter of supporting where we can without being too pushy."

This is the third year that the event is taking place in North Bay. The first year the city raised approximately $10,000 towards skin cancer research.

Find out more about the event on Sunday and the cause here.