Road to better cancer treatments leads through Boston

"42k for Cancer" runners (l-r) Dr. David Palma, Richard McClelland, Dr. Joseph Chin and Dr. Kevin Fung are challenging the Boston Marathon to help raise funds for cancer research and patient care.

London, Ont. - The quest for improved cancer treatments will take a team of four runners from London Health Sciences Centre's London Regional Cancer Program through Boston this spring.

The fundraising group called 42k for Cancer began in 2007 with the goal of supporting cancer research by raising a minimum of $1,000 for every kilometre of the Boston Marathon. Runners tackled the iconic road race again in 2009 and 2011, raising more than $243,000 in those three years. This time, the team is hoping to raise $100,000.

42k for Cancer co-founder, Dr. Joseph Chin will be joined for the April 21 race by second-time participant Dr. David Palma, along with two new team members: Dr. Kevin Fung and Richard McClelland.

An avid fitness enthusiast, Dr. Chin has been running most of his adult life - everywhere from volcanoes in Honolulu, to the Sidney Harbour Bridge, to the Singapore Botanical Gardens. He ran his first marathon in 2005.

"My previous efforts have resulted in tangible differences in prostate cancer care for our patients, with proceeds supporting two clinical trials and a couple of pieces of equipment used in our prostate cancer research lab," says Dr. Chin. "I'm hoping Boston 2014 will be equally successful and meaningful."

Dr. Palma has completed more than 15 marathons around North America and Europe. He is running to raise money to support the Gerald C. Baines Translational Cancer Research Centre, focusing on lung cancer research.

"Running has been part of my life since I was a kid," says Dr. Palma. "I am excited to be able to use running as a way to support our research and ultimately to improve the quality of care for our patients."

Dr. Fung bikes to work from north of London each day and is always up for a challenge. He ran a triathlon in 1996 and his first marathon in 2001, but didn't become a regular runner until 2012.

"Cancer researchers and cancer patients face formidable challenges every day," says Dr. Fung. "I hope that our 42k for Cancer run will raise awareness of these challenges and will inspire people to join us in our fight against cancer."

McClelland joined LHSC this January as the Operations Lead of LRCP's Cancer Clinical Research Unit. Running since 2001, he's completed the Boston Marathon eight times. He is raising money to support the unit's research efforts.

"I am excited to be part of this tradition started by Dr. Chin, and to have the opportunity to combine my passion for running and my passion for giving back to the community," says McClelland.

To help raise funds, a 42k for Cancer dinner and silent auction will take place at Aroma Restaurant on March 31. Tickets are $80 each and can be ordered on-line at Supporters can find out more about the runners, their fundraising focus and how to donate by visiting and clicking on the 42k for Cancer button.