The Cypress Challenge began in 2008, organized by Glotman•Simpson Cycling Club, and a group of friendly cyclists who wanted to promote a positive image for the sport. The dedication to find a cure for pancreatic cancer began with Geoff Glotman, an avid cyclist, who was looking for a way to give back to the community. Geoff's mother-in-law had passed away of the disease, giving his family a personal connection to the cause. With so few survivors to advocate for research and funding, the Cypress Challenge was established to raise awareness and support with the hope that more funds for research will lead to improved outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients. Over its twelve year history, the Cypress Challenge has raised $3.5 million and is the largest privately funded fundraising event for pancreatic cancer in Canada, and the largest community-based event for BC Cancer Foundation. This incredible event has built strong momentum, transforming the pancreatic cancer landscape in our province, such as helping to establish Pancreas Centre BC in 2012, a dedicated research body focused on advancing care for people facing pancreatic cancer.
This year, nearly 800 British Columbians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in Canada. The latest statistics show slight improvement in the five-year survival rate from eight per cent to nine per cent, but 75 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer won’t survive the first year after diagnosis. Unless more effective treatment strategies are found, the number of deaths from pancreatic cancer in Canada is expected to double by 2030.