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. If you’d like a special ‘A Viking’s Challenge’ t-shirt or other merchandise, please visit our Etsy store to make a purchase. Make sure to place your order soon if you want your t-shirt in time for the event!
To learn more about Chris’s story and the inaugural event, click here.
A Message from Chris
“When a successful treatment suddenly stops working, you can’t help but panic, especially when the only other options are clinical trials or major surgeries.“
This year has been challenging, with plenty of bumps along the way. In July 2022, I got accepted into a promising trial run by a leading melanoma oncologist out of Princess Margaret’s Cancer Clinical Research Unit in Toronto. The trial required participants to have two or more active tumours so one could be surgically harvested and sent to a lab in the U.S. where they rapidly reproduce tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). The surgery was challenging due to previous radiation treatments. Unfortunately, the trial was unsuccessful and the lab was unable to produce the cancer-fighting lymphocytes.
I want everyone to know that my spirits are still high and I’m far from throwing in the towel. I’ll be participating in a 4th edition of A Viking’s Challenge this March 4th on Lake Winnipeg and challenge everyone else to lace up and get active to support the Save Your Skin Foundation. I plan on being in Gimli for the weekend, but you can participate anywhere and in any way. I haven’t run since before my surgery and have no idea what I am capable of with my surgery-related hernia, but I promise to give it my all!
When: March 4-5, 2023
Where: Anywhere in Canada. Chris and Shawn will be running in Gimli, MB, the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland.
How: To participate, you must first register here and 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.
Each participant will have the option to get a free medal to commemorate their participation.
As always, every dollar raised through this event will go directly to assisting melanoma, non melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients meet their everyday needs during treatment in the form of transportation, accommodation, child care and more.
So what are you waiting for? Register now and start training to channel your inner Viking!