Participants prepare for the start of last year’s Raymond James Father’s Day Walk and Run for Prostate Cancer. This year’s run goes June 18 from the Vancouver Island Tech Park. Photo submitted

Stepping up support for dad on Father’s Day

Raymond James Father’s Day Walk and Run for Prostate Cancer goes June 18 from the Vancouver Island Tech Park

This Father’s Day you can do something for dad that could last a lifetime.

The annual Raymond James Father’s Day Walk and Run for Prostate Cancer goes Sunday from the Vancouver Island Tech Park at 4464 Markham St., near Layritz Park.

“The tagline we’re using for the Father’s Day event is: We know you can’t run from prostate cancer so we’re running for it, so run with us,” said Leanne Kopp, executive director of the Island Prostate Centre.

The walk is the Island Prostate Centre’s signature fundraising event for the year, and the support of sponsor Raymond James means that 100 per cent of the funds raised go to support programs in the community. Those programs cover a range of areas from nurse support and support groups to exercise and nutrition.

“This is why this event is really important because without fundraising events like this the hundreds of men who we help on an annual basis wouldn’t have access to the programs that we offer,” said Kopp. “And all of these programs are free and open to any man who has been impacted by a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer or are in the recovery stage.”

Aside from the money raised for programs (last year’s event in Victoria raked in $54,000), the event also serves as a public reminder on the importance of men being screened for prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is still one of these taboo subjects that a lot of people don’t want to talk about,” she said. “This is not something that is shameful to talk about. We need to address this situation, men need to be tested on an annual basis for this disease. Through events like this, it really helps expand the network and our reach to be able to talk about this.”

The centre is also involved with the Country Grocer Men’s Health Day – scheduled for Sept. 9 this year – which provides free PSA testing.

“The PSA test is the screening test for prostate cancer but it’s not provincially funded. Last year we tested over 500 men and we caught 35 men with an elevated PSA level.”

Kopp relays the story of one man who came to the PSA testing day last year after not having a test for three years, discovering that his PSA level was through the roof.

“When his neurologist saw him, he said ‘If you hadn’t had this test, in a year from now you wouldn’t be around to be talking about it.’”

Those interested in taking part in the Father’s Day walk and run can register on the website www.islandprostatecentre.com. On the day of the event, registration starts at 8 a.m. with the walk and run beginning at 10 a.m. The registration fee is $35 unless you collect a minimum of $150 in donations. Children under 12 are free.