In May 2011, Scott Todd was a busy service coordinator for construction giant PCL. Shuttling between the Nisku and Edmonton offices and hurrying home to Sherwood Park where his wife Kristy and then-18-month-old daughter Zoey were waiting left him little time for personal goals. That said, he was keen to get back to running – he’d already bagged a half marathon the year before. Then he started to get itchy skin. Doctors treated him for allergies but it didn’t help. Fatigue set in and the tests ramped up. Was it pneumonia? A chest x-ray found a tumour: Todd had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a diagnosis no young dad wants to hear.
A few days later, Todd was sitting in his chair in Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute, receiving his first dose of chemotherapy. “I needed to set a goal for myself,” he says. Using his iPad, he registered for a half-marathon in Disneyworld, date: January 7, 2012. Todd spent the next months, when other runners would be training, getting his chemo.
“Once the chemo was done and I was on radiation, I started taking long walks in the evenings.” When he completed radiation, he resumed running two or three nights a week. His goal was completion, not speed.
“I had some scans on January 4th and, when I went to my follow-up appointment on the 16th and told my doctor I’d run a half marathon in between, he said maybe that wasn’t the best idea,” says Todd, who promised to scale back and rest.
What started as a personal goal turned into a fundraiser run, benefitting the Alberta Cancer Foundation by more than $6,000. Todd has registered for another half in September, this time in California, and he’s not sure if this one will be a fundraiser. “Last time I was blown away by people’s generosity,” he says. “I don’t think I could ask my friends and family to do it again.”