An Abbotsford man who is fighting a second battle with cancer is holding his third annual event to raise money for the Save Your Skin Foundation.
Chris Isfeld, a late-stage melanoma survivor, is holding A Viking’s Challenge from March 4 to 6.
The virtual event invites participants to run any distance they choose from any location in Canada and beyond.
To participate, runners have to pledge a certain number of kilometres. A running tally is kept to see how many times they can “cross” Lake Winnipeg.
Last year, they were able to cross the lake 28.5 times.
So far in 2022, 37 people have pledged to run 691 kilometres, raising almost $12,000.
The event began in 2020, when Isfeld and his childhood friend Shawn Bjornsson of Winnipeg ran 30 kilometres across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients.
Isfeld was diagnosed with advanced melanoma in 2017 and was given life-saving immunotherapy treatment.
The cancer stopped growing, and the side effects became more manageable over the next few months.
After he recovered, Isfeld practised yoga and ran to overcome the physical and emotional anguish he was feeling.
Bjornsson posted a photo after he did a five-kilometre run in -40 degrees C weather, and Isfeld joked that he would race him across the lake.
A week later, Isfeld thought it was a great idea and decided to do it as a fundraiser for the Save Your Skin Foundation.
On March 7, 2020, Bjornsson and Isfeld ran about 30 kilometres across Lake Winnipeg – Canada’s sixth largest lake – from Grand Beach to Gimli, Manitoba.
A year later, they faced a different kind of challenge –a global pandemic that kept Isfeld from returning to Gimli to run on the lake with Bjornsson. So they held the event virtually.
This year, life has thrown Isfeld yet another curve ball. A large mass was found on his right adrenal gland, forcing him to stop training to focus on his treatment.
Isfeld is hopeful that the immunotherapy treatment that saved his life in 2017 will help him overcome this latest challenge.
Funds raised from A Viking’s Challenge help melanoma patients meet their basic needs while they undergo treatment.
To participate or make a donation, visit saveyourskin.ca.