Rick Durst has been running for cancer research since receiving a diagnosis of incurable cancer, 19 years ago. Since 1991 he has participated in the Terry Fox Run in various venues, including Bracebridge and Sandbanks Provincial Park, personally raising over $250,000, thanks to his many generous supporters.
In 1991, Rick had persistent leg pain prompting a visit to a chiropractor. After two treatments, he was advised to have a CAT scan which revealed a tumor in his lower back. “I had surgery on my back at Toronto Western Hospital and the diagnosis was an incurable blood based cancer, B-Cell Lymphoma. I was given no longer than five years to live”, says Rick, who was 37, at the time. “I had radiation to eradicate the tumor (not all of the growth could be removed during surgery) and that was the beginning of my journey as the systemic disease was sadly active.”
A few weeks after the surgery, Rick ran his first Terry Fox Run in Toronto. “When I started to fundraise I realized it gave my friends an opportunity to show their support for me, and what a boost it gave me.”
Rick is a strong supporter of the Terry Fox Run because all of its proceeds are directed to cancer research, and because of the very low administration costs of The Terry Fox Foundation. It was a research program that has allowed him to long outlive his original prognosis. “I went to Princess Margaret Hospital and Toronto General and they said they had done all they could for me. They basically said go home and die. Not prepared to give in, my own research led me to a leading-edge program at Sunnybrook Hospital. Today I’m happy and healthy. Because of research, there are new drugs and treatments being developed that are more effective with most cancers."
Rick continues, “Currently, there is no therapy to eradicate B Cell Lymphoma, unlike many other classes of Lymphoma. Although there is no cure, the improved treatments have kept me from being six feet under. There is better treatment today, better radiation, and better chemicals due to cancer research.” Although there is still no “cure for cancer”, improved methods of treatment, new drugs with higher efficacy and lower side effects are improving quality of life and saving lives. Not throwing up during treatment is a gift when you are in the fight of your life,” says Rick. "And I appreciate the fact that the vast majority of the money I raise for Terry Fox goes directly to research, and not to administrative costs. "