From left: Darren and Leanne Pedersen, Dr. Carl Brown, Dr. Manoj Raval, and Carol and Ron Price. Photo by: Dwight Simon

Big Engines, Big Hearts

Promise Magazine: Spring/Summer 2017

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 it is 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.”

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.

The Numbers Behind Colon Cancer

  • Second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada;
  • Second leading cancer-related death for men and third for women in Canada;
  • St. Paul’s performs over 300 colorectal cancer operations per year – the most of any hospital in BC;
  • Screening can save lives by detecting non-cancerous polyps and cancer early;
  • With early detection and treatment, survival rates are approximately 90 per cent.Sources: Canadian Cancer Society / Providence Health Care /

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