Danny Gill has lived a remarkable life – filled with a huge amount of love and loss, highs and lows. He’s used those experiences to become the present, healthy husband and father he is today, and hopes to inspire others to know they can do the same.
For the past three years, Danny has stepped on his treadmill every day in May to honour the memory of his uncle, who inspired his journey to health, and raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation’s annual Workout to Conquer Cancer event.
In his 20s, Danny was a promising young soccer player until a hamstring injury cut his career short. This sent him into years of depression and eventually into a battle with alcohol addiction. With his wife and extended family’s encouragement, he went into treatment and today is 3.5 years sober.
One person who always supported him and championed his recovery was his uncle, Avtar Dutt.
“My uncle was really proud of me. He always knew I had the potential in me. And then in 2020, when I was one-year sober, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”
His uncle passed away in April 2021 and it happened that Workout to Conquer Cancer was starting the next month. Danny, who was just beginning his journey back into fitness, signed up for the month-long fitness fundraiser.
He committed to running 10km a day on his treadmill – which means he ran over 300km in May 2021. This set him up to lose over 50 pounds throughout the year and eventually put him back on the soccer field. Danny returned to the annual fundraiser again in 2022, listening to his body and reducing his goal to 5km a day.
In two years, Danny has raised nearly $3,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation. To keep himself motivated, he keeps a photo of his uncle in front of his treadmill. He also remembers friends and teammates he’s lost over the years and how they helped him get to where he is today.
Danny has a large family who support his fundraising efforts, but says the reception from his social media networks has also been hugely inspiring and generous.
“I’ve received messages from friends from high school who I haven’t spoken to in 15 years saying this inspired them to start working out and the positive impact it’s had on their lives.”
Now in his third year participating in Workout to Conquer Cancer, Danny is overcoming another injury, but looking forward to receiving his doctor’s all-clear to get back on the treadmill.
“You won’t regret it. If you can do it for one day, you’ll feel so much better and that will motivate you for the next day,” says Danny. “It doesn’t have to be running. Just start with a walk around the block. It’s refreshing on your mind and your body – it’s a ripple effect.”
To support Danny or learn more, please visit: https://workouttoconquercancer.ca/participant/2813792/4174
Workout to Conquer Cancer kicks off on May 1, 2023 and challenges participants from across the province to complete 30 minutes of physical activity every day in May. Funds raised support life-saving research at BC Cancer. Whether you walk, run, bike or dance – get moving, and make a difference.