Lant Family together on couch
In early 2021, James and Shawn Lant were searching for a way to honour their Dad, Richard Lant, who was diagnosed with Melanoma in late 2020. The family learned it quickly developed to Stage 4 resulting in what would be a long and hard treatment.
“If there’s a man up for the task, it’s Dad,” says James. “He taught us that no matter how tough the fight is, to always greet it with a smile and to stay positive. Now he is in the fight of his life and there is no doubt that if anyone can beat this, it’s our Dad. He is our hero.”
A patient of the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre, Richard is receiving expert cancer care, close to home. Like many, James and Shawn wanted to find some control in an otherwise overwhelming situation and in some way contribute to their Dad’s care.
“When we brought up the idea of doing a fundraiser with Dad, and where it should go, he said it should go where he’s getting his treatment, the Cancer Centre at Lakeridge Health,” says Shawn.
While many online options exist for raising funds, the Lant family were happy to discover Lakeridge Health Foundation has an easy-to-use platform called Personal Pages. This web tool allows individuals and groups to set up custom webpages that accept donations directly to the Foundation, while also providing donors with a charitable tax receipt.
Avid outdoorsmen, the Lant brothers set their sights on an adventurous and unique challenge as part of this fundraiser – The Brent Run, a 162 km portage and canoe route through the heart of Algonquin Park. The pair will complete the trek between July 30 – August 2, 2021, which will equate to a little under a marathon each day, alongside good friends Justin Bruce (whose father recently beat prostate cancer) and Joe Paul.
“We knew we always wanted to do the Brent Run, but just needed the motivation to get it done,” says Shawn. “And now we have it!”
The initial goal set out by the brothers was to raise $20 per km of travel for a total of $3,240.
“I thought we should start the fundraising page now to give us a few months to meet that goal,” recalls James. “I didn’t realize how quickly it would take off!”
Within a matter of days, the Lant family fundraiser met and surpassed their fundraising goal. At the time of this article, the page had exceeded $14,600 and growing.
The brothers credit so much of this success to the breadth of people their Dad inspired as a hockey coach and professional with Tennis Canada and the Rogers Cup. Within a few days of James’ sharing on LinkedIn, he received an alert that it reached the top 1% of posts on the platform.
“So many people have been sharing messages about Dad. There have also been people I haven’t talked to in a long time who have reached out on LinkedIn or Instagram to say they’ve had a loved one go through this or have been a patient at the Cancer Centre. It’s amazing how many people have also quietly gone through this – we’re really glad to give them an outlet to give back and make a difference.”
“It’s been overwhelming,” says Shawn. ”People are coming out of the woodwork who we haven’t heard from or seen in 20 years just because Dad was a big influence on their lives as a coach.”
The brothers recently shared all the messages they’ve been receiving with their Dad and both agree it’s been an inspiration for him too. “It has just changed him. He’s more upbeat. The money is one thing, but the power of this community and everyone coming together is incredible.”
Reflecting on his experience so far, Richard is grateful for having such expectional cancer care so close to home. "Dealing with my cancer diagnosis has been helped tremendously by the amazing support of my family and friends. I am very impressed and thankful for the wonderful care provided by the Doctors and Nurses of the Lakeridge Health Hospital and Durham Region Cancer Centre especially Dr. Koneru, and Sue Murphy RN. We are grateful as a family to use the Brent Run for Cancer Treatment as an opportunity to fundraise and give back to the Hospital."
Donations are still coming in to honour Richard Lant and the brothers are actively working to raise awareness for their challenge this summer. If you’d like to support the Lant Family through their personal page please visit: bit.ly/lantfamily