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In Memory of Rocket Norton

April 8, 2024

Canada lost a music icon, and the BC Cancer Foundation lost a champion, last week when Prism drummer Rocket Norton passed away after three years of facing cancer.

After being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2021, Rocket was inspired by a “F**ck Cancer” slogan on a t-shirt that his former band manager sent him and chose to tackle the world’s biggest health challenge the way he knew best: through music.

He rallied an outstanding lineup of his rock ‘n’ roll contemporaries at the inaugural F**K Cancer benefit concert which drew an outpouring of support from his fans. In its first year, in 2022, the concert raised $170,000 for the Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) program, a genomics-based trial which leverages BC Cancer’s world-leading expertise to decode unique cancer mutations in the hopes of uncovering less toxic, more precise treatments.

As a POG patient, Rocket experienced firsthand how much better he felt on a care plan designed specifically for him. While his treatment was unsuccessful, he deeply believed in the research and its potential to save lives.

The following year, Rocket again recruited ’70s and ’80s music legends, Chilliwack, Doug & the Slugs, Loverboy and more, to raise $160,000. Motivated by his own difficult cancer journey, he chose to support better outcomes for youth and directed the funds to the PRecision Oncology for Young People (PROFYLE) program, which similarly uses genomics to better understand and support treatment options for children and adolescents.

Both years the funds were matched to contribute $660,000 to these important genomics programs.

Rocket was an inspiration, as seen by the enthusiasm of the many artists and industry leaders who jumped in and donated their time to support the two concerts free of charge. He leaves an indelible mark on not just Canada’s music history but on the course of cancer research in B.C., and as a result, on the lives of people facing cancer in our province.

Donate today in honour of Rocket’s incredible efforts to fuel research at BC Cancer.