Cancer survivors provide hope to all

BILLY POWERS

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

I received an interesting reaction to my item last week on the passing of former Calgary Stampeder Geary Murdock, who was laid to rest Tuesday.

Ken Vandean read the story and, as one with cancer, wanted to, as he put it, "offset the tragedies of this disease with the successes that the medical field has managed to forge."

He went on to say a year ago he was in hospital awaiting surgery and after a second operation last July he is two weeks away from his final chemotherapy treatment.

"For me, I should just be grateful with this success but instead I'd rather exploit it as I was lucky enough to earn the privilege to ride with cyclist greats Lance Armstrong, Steve Bauer and Eddy Merckx in the Alberta Cancer Foundation's 'Tour of Courage' ride last June," Vandean said.

After explaining he wants to give back to the program he wrote: "Bill, I'm not a CFLer or NHLer but let's remind people of the success of the Ken Vandeans, Mario Lemieuxs and Saku Koivus.

"Seems we only hear stories of failed attempts, so it's no wonder 'fear' is the first word associated with cancer.

"With stories of success fear can evolve into 'hope.' "

He says while not all will win their battles the media should "help keep our spirits up by letting people know cancer can and has been beaten."

Ken added early detection is the key and April is Cancer Awareness Month.

GOOD CAUSE

Ironically, it was as I was putting the finishing touches on the above story I got a call from my squash playing buddy Wes Lyster to tell me he had taken part this week in the 14th annual Oilympics Hockey Tournament and asked me to pass along word that with donations, entry fees, various auctions and nine people (including eight and nine year old boys) getting their heads shaved, they raised $125,000 which will go to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation.

The tournament involved 20 teams and more than 320 players and over the years they have raised more than $750,000 for the cause.

WELL DESERVED

When the University of Calgary named longtime basketball superstar Karl Tilleman as the Greatest Dino of All Time this week, I was glad people still remembered as far back as 1979 when this young man was shooting the lights out for the Dinosaurs.

He was so good he was twice named Canadian university player of the year while making the first All-Canadian team four out of five years.


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