The Raymond James Father’s Day Walk and Run for Prostate Cancer will be celebrating its 18th year on June 21, but will be going virtual instead.
Organized by the Island Prostate Centre, the annual walk/run brings families and loved ones impacted by prostate cancer together to bring awareness to the disease and raise funds for the centre.
The Island Prostate Centre supports men who have been diagnosed, are going through treatment or have had prostate cancer. According to the centre, one in nine men is diagnosed with prostate cancer on Vancouver Island.
The centre’s flagship program, the nurse navigator program, helps educate men as they decide what their journey dealing with the disease will look like.
“A lot of the time when they’ve been told they have cancer they really don’t remember anything else,” said Leanne Kopp, executive director of the Island Prostate Centre. “After they’ve been able to think about it, we have a nurse who helps them go through treatment options, side effects and what it’s going to look like.”
Cancer recovery exercise programs and support groups are also offered by the centre with the goal of creating a community for men to find others who have gone through or are going through similar situations.
Kopp said prostate cancer and its side effects can become a taboo topic, causing those who have it to feel isolated.
“A lot of the times men suffer through this in silence,” Kopp said. “It’s not the easiest topic to bring up with people but the reality is these men don’t have to suffer alone. We’ve created a family for them.”
The annual Father’s Day walk/run typically draws large crowds, Kopp said, so they’ve created a virtual platform on which participants can share their own routes this year as well as photos and experiences.
Registration for the event is $25 and the entire fee is considered a donation eligible for a tax receipt. Top three fundraisers will be awarded with prizes and the first 150 people to sign up will receive a Rocky Mountain Chocolate medal. There are also online 50-50 ticket sales and the winner will have a chance of winning up to $500.
The event’s title sponsor, Raymond James, will match fundraising dollars up to $15,000.
“There’s such a large group who do this every year as a Father’s Day tradition and we just wanted to provide a venue for that,” Kopp said. “The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped cancer diagnoses, we know men still need us.”
For details about the event and to sign up, visit islandprostatecentre.com/fathersdaywalkrun.