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Russell not done with cancer fight

By September 8, 2022No Comments
Jarrod Russell rolled onto the track at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School on the first day of school to talk about the completion of his Great Cycle Challenge ride with his youngest sister Tanya Robertson at his side. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Lloydminster cancer fighter Jarrod Russell is on a fundraising roll.

The 46-year-old plans to take part in the Terry Fox Run at Bud Miller All Seasons Park on Sept. 18 after raising more than $30,546 in the Great Cycle Challenge for the SickKids Foundation in August.

“I got in touch with (organizer) Heather Klages and she said come out and join the Terry Fox Run and she’ll give me a shirt,” said Russell the day after wrapping up his seventh cycle challenge.

“Terry Fox had his battle with cancer and he did his marathon and raised money like I do on my bike.”

Russell says he can definitely relate to Fox’s Marathon of Hope in 1981.

“I had cancer myself and I’m a survivor,” he said.

Terry Fox’s brother Fred will be in town on Sept. 13 to talk to students about the annual run to end cancer.

Russell ends his challenge rides as the top fundraiser in Alberta and third in Canada after riding 943 kilometres around town on his recumbent bike.

That’s just shy of his 1,200 km goal, but he took a week off to cheer on his niece, Shelby Lane at the Canada Summer Games in Ontario, where she won two medals in rowing.

“It’s nice to be done. It was a pretty good year,” said Russell, who logged a long ride on the final day.

“The community stepped up and helped me a fair bit.”

His youngest sister, Tanya Roberston, says what Jarrod does is amazing and he has no quit, despite having a concussion and some cuts from a couple of falls earlier in the summer.

“Year after year, he seems to persevere through all his little injuries and his mobility issues,” she said.

Russell was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just four and is still battling the side effects of his cancer treatment. 

He has epilepsy and partial paralysis on his right side and limited movement of his arm, fingers and legs.

On one of his early challenge rides last month, his foot slipped off a pedal and he ran over it, but that didn’t stop him for long, either.

“His bike riding is everything to him. It’s a way that he can get around the community and be seen and I think it’s an awesome way to get awareness,” said Robertson.

“He keeps getting donations from people in the community. The community always steps up. They’ve been awesome every year for seven years.”

A second annual barbecue, sponsored by Sellers RV, raised $1,870 to launch Russell’s 2022 challenge campaign.

Over the course of seven years, he’s raised over $203,000 for the SickKids Foundation.

“That alone says a lot about Jarrod,” said Roberston.

“When you think of kids’ cancer, Jarrod lived that, so he’s a true example of how you can persevere and get through tough times, but keep going,” she said.

Russell plans to ride again next year and joked his secret sauce is eating Wheaties for breakfast.

His motivation to ride, however, comes from wanting to find a cancer cure for kids.

“I have a purpose to get up in the morning and the month of August is my month. I get up every day and say ‘I can ride this many kilometres in a day,’” he said.