VANCOUVER, B.C., August 16, 2014  – Today, over 600 riders rode up Cypress Mountain representing the 600 British Columbians that will succumb to pancreatic cancer this year at the 7th Annual Glotman Simpson Cypress Challenge. The $415,000 raised at this inspiring event will go to the BC Cancer Foundation to support life-saving research at the BC Cancer Agency, to unlock the mysteries of one of the deadliest cancers.

Participants had the opportunity to test their endurance through a 5 KM or 14 KM climb, during a morning of intense cycling up Cypress Mountain to improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients in B.C. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all cancers. Most patients do not survive the first year post-diagnosis because the disease is complex and difficult to treat.

This year’s Cypress Challenge was held in memory of Darren Latoski. Last year, Darren almost single-handedly raised the majority of the funds at the Cypress Challenge, all while facing a diagnosis and treatments for pancreatic cancer. Sadly, shortly after the event in 2013, Darren passed away at the age of 44. To continue Darren’s legacy, his nine year old daughter Ella participated in this year’s Cypress Challenge. Just like her father, Ella was also the top individual fundraiser for the event, raising over $31,000 to continue her father’s incredible fundraising efforts from last year!

“Because of Ella Latoski and the Cypress Challenge, discoveries made by cancer experts in B.C. will affect widespread change. The true scope of your commitment is immense, and it will bring hope and optimism like we’ve never seen before,” said Douglas Nelson, President and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation, speaking to participants. “I want to extend a special thanks to Geoff and Myriam Glotman and the Glotman Simpson Cycling team for all they have done to raise awareness and support for pancreatic cancer over the past seven years,” added Nelson.

With few survivors to advocate and raise funds, events like Cypress Challenge are crucial to help change the course of diagnosis, treatment and survivorship for pancreatic cancer. “The Cypress Challenge started as a grassroots event and has experienced an outpouring of support over the past seven years to change the story for those facing pancreatic cancer in our province. I am proud to say that 100% of the over $1.2 million cumulatively raised from the event has gone towards pancreatic cancer research,” says Geoffrey Glotman, Event Chair and Managing Principal, Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers.

As a medical oncologist with the BC Cancer Agency and co-director of Pancreas Centre BC, Dr. Dan Renouf’s work starts and ends with the patient. Most patients he treats are diagnosed at an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer, which is resistant to many of the traditional drugs available today. “Pancreatic cancer remains a leading cause of cancer death and takes a significant toll on patients and their families. The funds raised through the Cypress Challenge will enable our expert team at Pancreas Centre BC to better understand, detect and treat pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Daniel Renouf, speaking to event participants.

After an inspiring climb, hundreds of participants and supporters celebrated the strong momentum that has been created through the Cypress Challenge to transform the pancreatic cancer landscape here in B.C. and beyond. 

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The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.  As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions. Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Monica Bisal, Communications Specialist
BC Cancer Foundation
t. 604.707.5934
e. monica.bisal@bccancer.bc.ca