Colon cancer survivor Darren Pedersen raises funds for St. Paul’s
In 2013, Darren Pedersen was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer; shortly afterwards, he underwent a life-saving operation at St. Paul’s. Dr. Manoj Raval, a St. Paul’s specialist in colon and rectal surgery and clinical associate professor of surgery at the University of British Columbia, performed two operations to remove all of Pedersen’s large intestine and reconstruct it using the small intestine. Following the surgery, Pedersen and Dr. Raval discovered they were both supercar enthusiasts and bonded over their love of sports cars.
In 2014 and 2016, they teamed up for the Diamond Rally, a supercar charity challenge, to raise awareness and funds for the Colorectal Cancer Clinic at St. Paul’s.
“My cancer was advanced,” says Pedersen. “After realizing I could have died, all I wanted to do was raise awareness and funds. I wanted to tell people that early screening can save your life, and that it can certainly save you a major surgery like the one I had.”
Pedersen and his wife Leanne have raised more than $18,000 for the Colorectal Cancer Clinic at St. Paul’s through the rally and sales of their cookbook, Health the Way Nature Intended. The funds were used to help purchase a second Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery Insufflator (TEM), a surgical device that enables surgeons to perform minimally invasive rectal cancer operations resulting in faster patient recovery times. This has allowed the Clinic to more than double the number of patients they’re able to treat from across the province, as well as the Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“My colleagues and I are deeply indebted to Leanne and Darren,” says Dr. Raval. “They raise money and awareness, and, at the same time, inspire others who may want to help. The equipment has had a profound impact on patients — and Leanne and Darren helped make that happen.”
Pedersen continues to raise awareness and funds for St. Paul’s Colorectal Cancer Clinic by participating with Dr. Raval in the 2017 Diamond Rally, and other fundraising efforts.