Two Runners Striding for a Cure

Two Runners Striding for a Cure

Research can bring hope to so many and for avid runners Gilles Poulin (right) and Paul Statchuk (left), it’s understanding the importance of finding a cure that motivates them to fundraise for the brain tumour community.

Deeply affected by the loss of a loved one to the disease, Gilles and Paul are working together to fund leading research that will bring an end to brain tumours and the emotional burden on those impacted. As Gilles explains, “Finding a cure is optimal but I know it’s not that simple. If we can show and encourage people to not give up on research or the fight against brain tumours, that’s what’s essential.”

When Jim Vreugdenhil, Gilles’ friend and Paul’s uncle, passed away in April 2012, the two gentlemen, each in their own way, decided to do something to celebrate Jim’s strength and tireless positive attitude. “I looked up to him so much,” Paul recalls fondly. “Jim had a constant smile, even throughout the two years he fought the tumour. He was the strongest of us all and I think it’s because of that that we could keep going and find the good in each day too.” In the last two years of Jim’s life, he and his family fundraised for the brain tumour community, and in his honour, Gilles and Paul are continuing this admirable tradition.

Gilles is a runner and twice a year embarks on 100-mile races to fundraise for different charities. As part of his Ultragiving Foundation, Gilles annually selects three different non-profits to benefit from these fundraising efforts, and in Jim’s memory, he selected Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada as a recent recipient. At the same time, Paul ran his Guinness world record marathon in full hockey equipment and donated his proceeds to the organization as well. Because of their partnership in raising critical dollars for the brain tumour community, Gilles and Paul were able to fund a new Research Studentship. “This was paramount to remembering Jim. He deserves the recognition for his journey and that Gilles and I could do this was so rewarding and worthwhile,” adds Paul.

Looking ahead to their future plans, Gilles and Paul both say they are in it for the long run – in every sense of the word. They recognize that brain tumour research takes time and lots of support, much like their long distance races, and want to do their part in any way possible. For Gilles, it’s important that others are encouraged to do the same. “It’s a commitment I hope everyone can make in whatever way works for them. We all need to come together and do more so that one day a cure can be found.”

For information about the various ways you can give to support the brain tumour community across Canada, please contact Suzanne or 1-800-265-5106 ext. 227.
Story posted: July 2013

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