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Workout to Conquer Cancer raises $379,000

Cancer has no bias. It affects anyone and everyone.

This year in B.C., more than 24,000 people will be diagnosed and more than 9,300 will lose their lives to the disease.

But, said BC Cancer Foundation president and chief executive officer Douglas Nelson, events such as last Saturday’s Workout to Conquer Cancer—which raised $379,000 to power cancer research in the province—are making a difference.

“The great part about this is that the research really is working,” said Nelson. “Discoveries made in the last years are changing the way people are diagnosed and treated and changing survival curves and more often oncologists are sitting with their patients and have courage and confidence to say cure.”

Last weekend’s day-long fitness challenge at the Richmond Olympic Oval featured eight different workout sessions for all fitness levels. Men and women from throughout the province tested their strength and stamina during former Canadian Football League great Tommy Europe’s SHRED bootcamp, kick boxed with purpose, and stepped it up Zumba style.

Peter Twist, who led the morning warm-up session, shared a personally inspiring story of his own battle with and defeat of cancer.

At the age of 47, the former Vancouver Canucks’ fitness co-ordinator was at his peak strength as well as spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Everything, he said, seemed aligned.

But two weeks after he commented as such, Twist was diagnosed with stage four head and neck cancer—with a tumor a little bigger than a baseball by his brain stem.

“I had spent five years intuitively, while I felt my very best, feeling that I had cancer,” he said. “I spoke with many doctors about that, did preliminary tests, all I got back was ‘You’re fitter than a 20-year-old pro athlete. Go out and have some fun.’

“So listen to your body.”

Funds raised for Workout to Conquer Cancer support research initiatives, such as the work of Dr. Sam Aparicio. Recently, Aparicio and his colleagues re-classified breast cancer into 10 distinct sub-types and work is underway to improve diagnostic techniques, pinpoint genetic targets and develop more effective treatment options.

“Change is happening right now in B.C. But, we can’t do it alone. Research at the BC Cancer Agency is made possible thanks to our partnership with the BC Cancer Foundation and the incredible generosity of people like you,” Aparicio told event participants.

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