When Gary Seveny helped to start the Alterna Do It For Dad run and walk more than a decade ago, he had no idea its cause would touch him personally.
The then-president and CEO of Alterna Bank, Seveny started the fundraiser for prostate cancer after realizing that although the disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among Canadian men, people didn’t know enough about it. The event became not only a fundraiser for research and treatment, but an awareness raiser.
Nine years after the walk began, Seveny’s father, Neil, died from prostate cancer.
His story wasn’t unique at Carleton University yesterday, where close to 1,500 runners and walkers came out for the 11th annual event — many of whom had a similar story.
About a dozen of Pat Walsh’s family and friends were out running and walking with him yesterday. The Ottawa resident, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer 18 months ago, is now recovered, said his sister-in-law Julie Retar.
“When it happens to someone close to you, your whole family is affected,” said Retar.
The event raised $239,000 for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Association of Ottawa.
The funds raised stay in eastern Ontario for prostate research and care, said president and CEO of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation Linda Eagen, whose own father is a prostate cancer survivor.
“One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime,” she said.
The good news is, she said, “it’s very curable. The trick is diagnosing it early and the challenge is to get men to see their doctors.”