March 4-5, 2023, Gimli, MB, & all across Canada!
In March of 2020, Chris Isfeld and his childhood friend Shawn Bjornsson completed a massive challenge. Three years after Chris was diagnosed with late stage melanoma and recovered from being partially paralyzed from the waist down, they ran 30km across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients.
One year later, they were facing a different kind of Viking’s challenge: a global pandemic that kept Chris from returning to Gimli to run on the lake with Shawn. But that didn’t stop them from getting people all over Canada to join them in running and to raise funds and awareness wherever they were.
Last year, life threw Chris yet another curve-ball. A large mass was found on his right adrenal gland, forcing him to stop training to focus on his treatment.
Finally, this year, Chris is aiming to be back on the lake with his friend Shawn, despite the ongoing treatments and side-effects that come with fighting a dangerous cancer. Chris is again showing amazing fearlessness and grit by challenging himself both physically and mentally. By joining A Viking’s Challenge 2023 and pledging to run or walk, you will make a powerful statement of support for Chris and fellow melanoma patients across Canada.
All registrants will receive a charitable donation tax receipt and those who want one will receive a beautiful AVC medal.
Chris’s story with cancer began in 2017 when he was diagnosed with advanced melanoma. He was given lifesaving immunotherapy treatment just in time. The treatment was challenging but it proved to be effective. The cancer stopped growing and the side effects became more manageable over the next few months. By December 2018, just one year after his melanoma diagnosis, he was lacing up his running shoes again.
Unfortunately, in late 2021, a large mass was found on his right adrenal gland and he had to resume radiation therapy and immunotherapy treatments. Chris is hopeful that he will be able to beat his cancer once again.
After he recovered, Chris had been frequently running and practicing yoga to overcome the physical and emotional anguish he was feeling.
In an interview with Global News, he said:
“A friend of mine, Shawn Bjornsson from Winnipeg, posted a photo after he did a 5K run in -40, and for some reason, I just made a comment and said, ‘Hey, I’ll race you across the lake,’ just as a joke, But a week later, I thought about it, and thought, ‘You know what, this is an absolutely great idea.’
“It gives me something to focus on, and obviously with my diagnosis, I had gotten to know the people at Save Your Skin Foundation very well, and decided that I should do it as a fundraiser and raise money for them.”
True to their Viking roots, they didn’t back down from a challenge. On March 7, 2020, they ran about 30 km from Grand Beach, Manitoba to Gimli, Manitoba, raising almost $20,000 for Save Your Skin Foundation. Read more about the 2020 event here.
THIS YEAR’S CHALLENGE
Chris and Shawn are planning on running together on the lake this year, for the first time since 2019. The event will also allow participants to run any distance they choose from any location in Canada and beyond.
To participate, runners have to pledge to run a certain number of kilometres. We will keep a running tally of the number of kilometres pledged and see how many times we can “cross” Lake Winnipeg.
Last year, we were able to cross the lake 28 times. Will we reach 30 crossings this year? With your help, we are confident we will.
So what are you waiting for? Register now and start training to channel your inner Viking!