My Leap: Highway of Hope

Dyllan Duperron runs and runs to raise funds

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A 16-year-old Alberta boy recently took some steps to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation – more than a million steps.


Boy in Motion: Dyllan Duperron was not able to log the Anthony Henday portion of his run on the dangerous stretch of road, so he ran the equivalent at the Cross Cancer Institute instead.

Dyllan Duperron, a Grade 10 student from Valleyview, ran nearly 1,000 kilometres this spring in a journey that took him by foot from Alberta’s southernmost community cancer centre in Lethbridge to its northernmost one in Grande Prairie.

Cancer is a cause that has touched Dyllan’s life on more than one occasion. Family members on both sides have experienced cancer, including both paternal grandparents and an aunt, all of whom recovered. Dyllan’s uncle Romeo died of brain cancer a few years ago. “Dyllan wasn’t able to make it to his funeral and he always felt bad about that, so this was his way of showing that he cared,” explains Dyllan’s mother, Boni Duperron.

Dyllan started running in mid-March and, with a two-week break halfway through, made it to his goal at the beginning of May. He hit the road at 9 a.m. each day to run approximately 35 km; Boni drove alongside him, pulling over at times so Dyllan could have a quick lie-down on the back seat or refuel on chocolate milk and Fruit Roll-Ups. They’d usually finish up at about 3 p.m., checking into a hotel and having dinner before Dyllan caught up on his schoolwork or, if he was lucky, soaked his sore muscles in a hot tub.

Other family members and friends were also supportive of his ambitious project. “They think it’s pretty cool,” he says. According to Boni, it’s given the pair some insight into the emotional roller-coaster ride experienced by many people with cancer. “I know it’s not really the same, but with all the obstacles we’ve had to endure trying to get this run going and keep it going,” she says, “we feel a small taste of the ups and downs that cancer patients must go through.” To donate: visit albertacancer.ca

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