The journey has been long, gruelling, and at times dangerous for 15-year-old Dyllan Duperron.
The Valleyview boy stopped in Red Deer on Friday, part way through his Today’s Hope, Tomorrow’s Cure run from Lethbridge to Grande Prairie to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Duperron’s aunt, grandmother, and grandfather are cancer survivors, and his great-uncle, great-grandmother and great-grandfather all died from cancer. He said the run is a personal journey as much as it is a public fundraiser.
He is hoping the run will reach its targeted fundraising goal of $30,000 and inspire other young people to get involved in the fight against cancer.
“I hope I can show that you don’t have to run across the province, you can do simple things like a walk around your city to raise a little bit of money,” Duperron said.
Dyllan has had some challenges enroute.
“He had to run for the ditch and I had to swerve because some guy decided to pass us on a narrow road,” said Dyllan’s mother, Boni Duperron.
His mother trails behind him in an SUV, counting the kilometers — he’s averaging 30 per day — and collecting donations from drivers who see the two campaign banners pasted on the vehicle’s windows. Dyllan, a 10th-grader who runs track and field, admits that sometimes motorists are confused by what’s going on.
“Lots of people stop and ask to give us a ride because they think we’re broke down,” he said.
The fundraising run, which began in Lethbridge on March 14, will end in Grande Prairie in early May; Dyllan said the route was planned that way because it stretches from the southern-most Alberta cancer centre to the furthest northern one.
On Friday afternoon, Dyllan ran through the wet snow into Red Deer via Hwy 2 and stopped in at the Central Alberta Cancer Centre. The invitation came from Eileen Wagner, a registered nurse who has dedicated her career to helping cancer patients.
“My father died of cancer when I was young, so this is my way of giving back, and to see Dyllan raising money like this at such a young age is very impressive,” Wagner said.
Duperron said he couldn’t have pulled off this journey without the support of his family, friends and his teachers back home, who have allowed him to conduct his studies from the road.
For more information or to make a donation to Today’s Hope, Tomorrow’s Cure, visit hopeforcure.info.