Penticton family's daily exercise in memory of their grandfather

Fundraiser in pop's memory

Casey Richardson

After the very sudden loss of his father to cancer in 2022, one Penticton man is spending every day in May working out with his two sons in hopes of aiding in research and care to fight against the disease.

Seven-year-old Hudson Lee, his 18-year-old brother Caden Rozander-Lee and dad Matthew Lee are participating in a BC Cancer Foundation May fundraiser event called Workout to Conquer Cancer.

The event began in 2017, and all funds raised through this May-long challenge go to innovation in research and care. The goal is to help remind everyone that, “together, we are stronger than cancer.”

For the entire month of May, the family has pledged to exercise and promote health and fitness by mountain biking, hiking, walking, swimming, or weight training for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

Joining the movement was very important to the father and sons team after losing multiple family members to the disease.

“We had a grandpa who passed away from it and my dad had two aunties that also passed away from it,” Hudson said.

“It was born out of sadness, and heartache,” Matthew said, adding that he lost his dad in November 2022 and had two aunts also die from cancer when they were only in their 40s.

“It's been tough. All I can say is just try and find a positive outlet to channel your anger towards the disease.”

The family has to log their minutes for their activities every day, in hopes of seeing people donate to their registered BC Cancer Foundation fundraising page.

“The exercise itself is doing something difficult, but you just got to do it. Obviously, things aren't always going to come easy and there's a clear benefit from this. So it kind of does have a relation to that, which is why we were doing that together in correlation with the cancer fundraiser,” Caden said.

Matthew said participating in the event has shown him just how many other people out there are suffering from the disease too.

“The more we're involved in this [fundraiser,] the more we see how much it actually impacts people, not just in the Okanagan, but in all of BC.”

The family already enjoyed being active together with hikes, mountain biking and hitting their home gym, but committing to exercise every day does add on another level of challenge.

“It is extremely difficult. [Hudson's] in school, I work full time. [Caden's] working as well, fresh graduate. There have been a couple of days when there is no time and you take a rest day, but on rest days, you donate to the Cancer Foundation yourself,” Matthew explained.

But he said he couldn’t be more proud of the work and commitment of his sons in this challenge in honour of their grandpa.

“These two kids right here are working extremely hard, showing a lot of heart. They both banged off a 40-kilometre ride not too long ago,” he added.

Hudson enjoys mountain biking the most, while Caden said he’s happy to weight lift in the gym.

The family is hoping to make a difference for other people who were or are in the same sad situation they found themselves in during 2022.

“We're basically trying to reach over $5,000,” Hudson said.

“Well, yeah, that's ambitious,” Matthew added. “We started at $500 and we quickly surpassed that. I think we're at $1,100 right now, so anything extra would be awesome.”

Follow along with their workout journey and donate to their campaign online here.

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