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Quadra Island man to run 160 km to raise funds for alternative cancer care

‘I feel like I need to be in pain to raise the money… I can’t do something that’s easy’ — Ryan Rasmussen
Ryan Rasmussen goes on a training run on Quadra Island. Photo supplied.

Even though he knows it will be painful, a Quadra Island man will be running his longest ever distance to raise money for people who are wanting holistic cancer care.

Ryan Rasmussen knows running the 160 kilometres between the Campbell River ferry terminal and the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo on August 28 is going to be the hardest thing he’s ever done. Though he is a runner, the longest run he has ever gone on was 37 km. He also knows that putting his body through the pain of a 24-30-hour run is nothing compared to the pain of people going through cancer treatment.

Last year, Rasmussen lost his sister Nicole to colon cancer. He watched as the chemotherapy affected her body, and as she looked for something else to help ease the pain. His sister wanted to try alternative holistic therapy, but was unable to because those therapies are not covered by MSP and she was unable to afford the payments.

“Watching what she went through… it was just so gross, you know?” Rasmussen said. “There was a few times where she would tell me how she wanted to do more of a natural treatment… She really wanted to do a natural approach versus the chemo because chemo was just destroying her body.”

After Nicole passed away in January, he decided he had to do something to help.

“I knew I had to do something for people in that same situation. I like to go for runs, so I figured I’d go for an extremely long run to raise money and awareness and donate money to either one person or multiple people for treatments for a natural approach,” Rasmussen said. “I talked to my sister before she passed about this, and she was very grateful for that it would be all donated in her name.”

He has named his run the “Coco Run” in homage to his sister’s childhood nickname.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, complementary cancer treatments supplement conventional treatments by supporting the body and mind through the effects of cancer drugs. People can also choose alternative treatments, which replace conventional western medicine with different therapies. Different people with cancer make different decisions based on their needs and desires.

Rasmussen’s long distance experience is fairly limited. However, he did want to do something difficult to be able to empathize with people going through cancer treatment.

“I watched my sister crawling on the floor screaming in pain on a daily basis, and I felt like if I was going to raise money for people who are going through that, I wanted them to see that I’m willing to go through that exact same pain that they are going through,” he said. “I needed to do something that was kind of put me in pain, because since I was watching my sister in pain, I feel like I needed to be in pain to raise the money. I feel like I can’t do something that’s easy.”

He’s going to do the run in one non-stop attempt, with a few breaks to change clothes, eat or use the bathroom. He’ll have a support vehicle meeting at different spots so he can re-supply, and one of his friends has offered to run alongside him for part of the day. He’ll be training with long hours on Quadra Island over the next few months to get ready.

“I’m learning that with running, if you want to practice your long distance, you actually have to run quite slowly to keep your heart rate down,” he said. “A lot of patience goes into this, I’m going to need to have it.”

People can follow Rasmussen’s training progress and donate to the cause at or through Ryan’s Amazon affiliate account.

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