A group of cyclists is pedalling through Kingston today — as they ride around Lake Ontario to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer research. The fundraiser is called “7 Days in May.” As Newswatch’s Heather Senoran reports, more than 2 dozen riders will pedal over 11 hundred kilometres.
Gord Townley is leading a large pack of cyclists, riding for a cause. In 2009, Townley’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She lost her battle in 2011.
Gord Townley, Organizer/7 Days in May:
“Through that process I learned a lot about the death rates and the lack of hope, frankly, for patients.”
Townley and his fellow riders are cyling around Lake Ontario, in just 7 days, to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. It started four years ago with only 5 riders, members of Townley’s family — now, there’s close to 30 cyclists from all over Ontario.
“In it’s first 3 years combined, 7 Days in May raised over 100 thousand dollars. This year, on day 3 of the ride, the fundraiser has already reached 80 thousand dollars.”
The public can donate to the cause online throughout May and June. Townley says any amount can help improve the survival odds for patients.
“Some of the most gratifying ones are the people on the street who give a 20 dollar bill and say ‘I lost my brother to pancreas cancer.’”
According to Dr. Jim Biagi, Pancreatic cancer is on track to becoming the second leading cause of Cancer death in Canada. 95 percent of those diagnosed die within 5 years. 75 percent die within the first year. Dr. Biagi says the grim statistics have a lot to do with the fact pancreatic cancer is one of the least funded when it comes to research.
Dr. Jim Biagi/Medical Oncologist, KGH:
“Patients don’t survive and there isn’t that pool of support for future patients.”
Dr. Biagi is part of a clinical trial conducted by the Canadian Cancer Trials at Queen’s University and says funding from 7 Days in May is helping to keep the research running.
“We expect the trial to close just in a matter of a few months.We’ll be able to look at those results and see if the results of the that trial have improved the outcome of our patients.”
After leaving Kingston, 7 Days in May cyclists will continue their 11 hundred kilometre journey across the border to Alexandria Bay — they will go through Os-we-go, Rochester, Niagara Falls then back to their starting point in Mississauga.
Heather Senoran CKWS Newswatch, Kingston.