My year Biking, Running and Skiing across Canada for Cancer Research


On April 5th I completed my 7,032 km virtual trip biking, running and skiing across Canada for cancer research. If you’re wondering what a virtual trip is, I logged all of the miles in and around Edmonton, and during the Winter switched to an indoor trainer when I couldn’t ride outside. I measured a relatively straight route through Canada stretching from St. John’s, Halifax to Victoria, BC and subtracted any water crossings.

On April 12th, 2020 I committed to riding the distance across Canada and to raising $10,000 in under a year. 51 weeks later I was done.

It was difficult. I launched this “Give’r Project” once it became clear that the global pandemic was going to wash away dozens of impactful fundraising events that support my beloved Alberta Cancer Foundation.

All told, 99 donors contributed $10,450…enough to pay for a seat in a clinical trial at the Cross Cancer Institute. The experience was extremely gratifying. I reinforced for myself that audacious, worthwhile things can be achieved with the application of consistent energy and passion. I was reminded of how generous people are for this cause, and how many of us cancer has changed.

My one regret was that a great deal of energy went into designing the platform to enable and encourage others to craft their own Give’r Project and get fundraising on their own. Unfortunately we didn’t get much traction there (yet).

What should we do next?

My 52-Year-Old Back Feels Great


After a life of contact sport and a workplace injury in 1987 I’ve had a bad back my whole life.  I was diagnosed with a bulging disc L4/L5 back in 1987 but have remained active…running, cycling, playing hockey etc. right up to the ripe old age of 49.  Sure I had the odd flare-up every 5 years or so…then every 3 years, then annually…but I was still functioning at a high level as a result of daily stretching and strengthening and staying active.

In late 2016 things got worse.  I was waking up every morning with a very stiff back.  By 10 at night it was locked up and I could barely get out of bed after reading to my daughter.  For the first time I actually hung up the skates.

Following an X-Ray I was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in my lower back.  My Doctor told me that there was no reason to hope the condition would improve…that I could only hope to delay or slow the worsening.  I was encouraged to keep up with my stretching and strengthening, but that I would likely have to take Tylenol morning and night for the rest of my life.  I should give up hockey.  I should give up running.

At the age of 52 I am now happily almost pain free and have not taken anti-inflammatory or pain medication more than once a month or so for 2 years.  I went back to hockey this past season and felt no discomfort.  Gardening? No sweat.  I have been cycling over 150km per week for over 8 weeks now as part of my Give’r Project toward a world free from cancer.  If I didn’t have a sprain in my abdomen I’d be running too.  I am looking forward to another 30 years of daily strenuous activity.

I attribute this to 2 things.  First of all I have remained passionate about movement, sports and exercise and there was no way I was going to give up things I loved.  Ping me in the comments if you are interested in what my daily practice is.  I also started taking Turmeric (Jarrow Formula Curcumin Phytosome 500mg) daily around 2 years ago after conducting a bunch of research of my own.  Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s recommendations sealed the deal.

Turmeric is really the only thing that is new in my routine…that and the simple passage of time that may also have had an effect.

Try it out!

1,110 km down & $3,175 raised! Give’r Project Week 7 Update


We’re over 32% toward our goal of funding a potentially lifesaving critical trial for someone facing cancer.

Through the past 7 weeks on the bike  I have reclaimed my appreciation of the flow that comes from long, difficult physical exertion.  It has been a revelation…rediscovering what I knew 15 years ago when I was regularly running and training for 10k’s, half marathons and triathlons.

The Give’r Project – a continuation of 13 years of cycling and fundraising for cancer research – is a beautiful compliment and reinforcing of a lifelong commitment to fitness, health and well-being.

There really is only one finish line, and when we see a world free from cancer in 2030 it will be time to share a beer, some high-fives, and then lace up and keep right on going.

Thanks for supporting my Give’r Project.  Join Team Cross Cancer Institute or create your own team and Just Give’r.

A Virtuous Cycle


Readers of this blog know that I pledged to ride, run, swim and paddle 7,000 km in under a year in support of cancer research, prevention and care at the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

I used to run a lot when I was younger…and running 3-4 times a week kept me in touch with not only the physical and mental health benefits of running, but also the well of creativity that one can access when pushing hard physically…the turning off of the chattering mind and turning on of the benefits of flow.

Frankly I made the pledge to cover 7,000 km on a bit of a whim…I was reading about the 40th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope just as it was announced that my annual Ride to Conquer Cancer had been cancelled.  As a supporter of cancer research I wanted to do something and the Give’r Project was born.

Stuck inside on a trainer for the most part I had started to flag last week…feeling isolated and wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew.  But now, 6 weeks and 950 km in,  I feel like I have crested a big hill.  I feel stronger all of a sudden, and the riding is less drudgery and more inspiration.  I have tapped that well and where there was boredom, isolation and anxiety I am now experiencing expansiveness, wellness and creativity.

I heard someone say today, related to the pandemic, “…tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

I’m feeling it.  If you are having a hard time getting moving, maybe you should just Give’r.

A Good News Cancer Story


I had the great good fortune to attend (virtually) the Alberta Cancer Foundation‘s Clinical Trials Day crowdcast yesterday from the Cross Cancer Institute.  It was truly thrilling…and you can watch it here if you are interested.  I watched Session 2 from the CCI.

Charismatic nerd and Rockstar in his own right Dr. John Mackey kicked off the session before heading off to the clinic, introducing Research Rockstar Dr. John Walker.  I’d heard Dr. Walker speak on another occasion…introducing the story of how the CCI had initiated clinical trials of Combined Nivolumab and Ipilimumab or Monotherapy in Previously Untreated Melanoma.  In 2010, before this novel immunotherapy combination had been discovered, the survival rate for late stage melanoma was less than 10%.  Now the 5-year survival for Melanoma is over 50%.   Dr. Walker was joined by Cam Lane that day…a patient whose life was saved by the clinical trial and who rode with us on Team Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Yesterday John introduced Chris Brochu…another patient who benefited from the trial and whose life was saved.  Chris shared the story of how he had a melanoma removed in 2009 in BC and was treated with Chemotherapy for a recurrence in 2015.  When the Chemotherapy proved ineffective he was out of options locally and given 4 weeks to live.

Luckily his doctors recommended that he join the clinical trial at the Cross Cancer Institute.  Chris came to Edmonton, rented a house, and joined the immunotherapy clinical trial.  At age 33 Chris’ life was saved.

This may be the most poignant modern demonstration of the power of cancer research and the private donors who fund it that I have ever heard.

Immunotherapy is exciting because it works by boosting the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer, rather than introducing a poison to try and kill it.  Dr. Walker shared that Dr. Michael Chu is working to bring even more exciting clinical trials in cellular therapy to the Cross.  Cellular therapies are manufactured by collecting a specific set of cells from the blood, modifying them to produce a more vigorous attack on a patient’s cancer cells, and then re-injecting them into the patient.

After the session I increased my fundraising target for my Give’r Project to $10,000…the cost to enroll one patient in a clinical trial.  Better yet, every dollar we raise can be leveraged to receive 5 or more dollars from pharmaceutical companies and other granting agencies.  Hope you’ll join me!