A young B.C. cancer survivor is put his body to the test Saturday to support the hospital that helped him through three-and-a-half of the toughest years of his life.
Jayden Lee, 22, and his friend Cameron Van Klei spent the day running 107 kilometres from Chilliwack to B.C. Children’s Hospital.
The duo started at midnight, and were flanked at various points along the route by friends and well wishers.
The plan was to raise money for the hospital and raise the spirits of kids currently facing the challenge Lee battled his way through.
“To now physically be able to run from Chilliwack to the place I spent 3.5 years getting treatment is going to be an emotional experience,” Lee told Global News.
“I remember how discouraged I felt in the hospital a bunch of times and I just want to show those kids in there right now that if you put your mind to it you can pretty much do anything you want.”
Lee was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2015 and successfully completed his chemotherapy treatment in 2018.
While the experience was at times grueling and demoralizing, Lee now credits it with changing his outlook on life.
“Going through something like that changes your perspective on life completely, it makes you grateful for just the little things in life,” he said.
“I remember being stuck in the hospital and just wishing I could go back to school with my friends.”
By Saturday afternoon, the pair had met their fundraising goal of $121,000, though are still accepting donations through a GoFundMe.
Lee and Van Klei spent Friday loading up on carbohydrates before setting out Saturday with the goal of completing the run in about 12 to 14 hours.
“It’s pretty much all going to be mental. You just get into your groove and you get this runner’s high and you get in the zone and you keep going,” Lee said ahead of the run.
“Like being sick, it’s a slow process and it doesn’t really matter how quick you get there, just as long as you get there.”