Climb of Hope Run celebrates a million successes

September 15, 2016

Edmonton fundraiser set for Saturday to benefit patients at Cross Cancer Institute

Steven Csorba has participated in the Climb of Hope Run for the last four years in a row.

Story by Kerri Robins; photo courtesy Steven Csorba

EDMONTON — “I love running hills and stairs,” says Cancer ‘survivor and thriver’ Steven Csorba.

This marks the fourth year in a row Csorba will take part in the annual Climb of Hope Run 5 km run and 3.5 km walk in Edmonton — an event now in its eighth year — and Csorba’s fit as a fiddle and ready to hit the path.

“Ever since my cancer diagnosis and treatment, I’ve kept physically fit through exercise and nutrition, but it’s my mental state that’s in better shape today than it ever was,” says the Edmontonian and father of three.

Csorba, 52, first heard those words ‘you have cancer’ 13 years ago when he was diagnosed with head and neck cancer.

“I have a history of cancer in my family and my mom died from cancer when I was 15-years-old. But it was still a shock hearing those words.”

Enduring ten surgeries over the last ten years to rebuild his throat and face, Csorba tackles life full-on these days. In fact, he’s made it his goal to give others hope by sharing his own story.

“The radiation destroyed my teeth and bones, and it makes you lose your saliva ─ it basically made my face fall apart,” says Csorba. His throat feels like it’s in a constant state of tightening, like being choked most of the time.

“I have a hard time swallowing and I had to re-learn how to speak,” says the motivational speaker and pop artist. “But I wasn’t going to let the cancer consume me. And I think by talking about it and telling cancer stories, we change our focus for the better.”

This year’s Climb of Hope Run takes place this Saturday, Sept. 17 in Edmonton’s Victoria Park, to raise funds for Alberta Cancer Foundation in support of the Cross Cancer Institute.

Raising more than $840,000 over the last seven years, this year marks the bittersweet occasion of the final run.

Founder Chad Murphy says: “Our goal in starting this event was to raise money for cancer through a localized event, and I always said that once we hit the $1 million mark, that would be the last climb and run.”

Almost at their goal, the final kilometer and last stair will definitely be a poignant moment as cancer survivors celebrate the years of hope this fundraiser has inspired as well as the many fun moments they’ve enjoyed.

Myka Osinchuk, CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, says she’s committed to ensuring donor dollars reduce the risk of cancer, detect it earlier, and improve treatment and quality of life for patients and their families.

“Improving patients' lives is at the centre of everything we do, and events like Climb of Hope Run help us make life better for Albertans facing cancer,” she says.

While Csorba says he’s sad to witness the end of an era for the Climb of Hope Run, for him it’s just the beginning.

“I had a talk with God a long time ago, and we agreed that if I were given the strength to pull through this ordeal, I’d pass that strength on to anyone I met. And to this day I’ve honoured that pledge.”

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About the Alberta Cancer Foundation

The Alberta Cancer Foundation is proud to be the official fundraising partner for all 17 Alberta Health Services Cancer Centres in the province. Through this partnership it’s able to make the most significant impact for patients, right at the point of care.

  • Every year, the Alberta Cancer Foundation invests more than $20 million across the province into research and enhanced care.
  • Alberta Cancer Foundation Patient Navigators are available at 15 regional and community cancer centres across the province to steer patients and families to the right resources at the right time.
  • Each year, thousands of patients and families benefit from financial assistance when they need it most. The Foundation invested nearly $1 million last year to help Albertans so they could concentrate on their healing rather than worry about making ends meet during treatment.
  • Over the years, more than 6,000 Albertans have taken part in 500 trials, thanks, in part to support from the Alberta Cancer Foundation