Teen takes ac­tion af­ter fa­ther’s brush with can­cer

Com­pete for the Cure. 17-year- old be­hind char­ity dodge­ball and bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment this Sun­day that has al­ready raised $70,000

StarMetro Toronto - - NEWS - PHOEBE HO [email protected]

“Once ap­proved, Wu will be tried in a Chi­nese court,” she added.

Han and Fei dis­ap­peared from Fei’s mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar home on Feather­ston Drive. Fei was found alive and badly in­jured in a Toronto park­ing lot six days later, but Han was found dead the fol­low­ing sum­mer in a Markham home. An au­topsy con­firmed he died of a heart at­tack while be­ing held cap­tive. Lauren Clarfield didn’t re­al­ize how close she had come to los­ing her fa­ther when he sat her down to de­liver news of his pan­cre­atic can­cer di­ag­no­sis nearly five years ago.

In fact, it wasn’t un­til last sum­mer, when they took part in the Ride to Con­quer Can­cer, a cy­cling fundraiser, when it fi­nally dawned on the 17-year-old how lucky she was to have her fa­ther there be­side her, can­cer-free.

“He (my dad) was say­ing that all I re­ally care is that you’re here be­side me, I don’t care if you fin­ish, I’m just happy to be alive, and I never thought I would be bik­ing be­side my kids again,” said Clarfield, re­call­ing her­self sit­ting on the side of the road, on the verge of giv­ing up.

It was that pre­cise mo­ment that spurred Clarfield into ac­tion to cre­ate Com­pete for the Cure, a char­ity sport­ing event for high school stu­dents, to give back to the can­cer com­mu­nity.

“Af­ter I got back on the bike, I re­al­ized how lucky I was and how grate­ful I should be and how I’ve sort of un­der­es­ti­mated the sever­ity of the disease,” said Clarfield, about one of the lead­ing causes of can­cer deaths in Canada.

“I just wanted youth to be able to get in­volved in events to raise funds to­wards can­cer re­search. Not only that, but have them feel wel­come.” Lauren Clarfield

But hav­ing at­tended sev­eral char­ity can­cer events with her dad be­fore, she knew hers was go­ing to be dif­fer­ent.

“I re­al­ized that a lot of events aren’t youth-ori­ented,” she said. “I just wanted youth to be able to get in­volved in events to raise funds to­wards can­cer re­search. Not only that, but have them feel wel­come.”

The one-day dodge­ball and bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment is set to take place this Sun­day. Now with al­most 400 Grade 11 and 12 stu­dents from 20 lo­cal high schools reg­is­tered for the event, Clarfield has al­ready raised $70,000.

Clarfield’s hop­ing, by the end of the event, they’ll have more than $80,000. The pro­ceeds will go to Pan­cre­atic Can­cer Canada, which funds re­search, ed­u­ca­tion and treat­ment pro­grams.

With this ex­pe­ri­ence un­der her belt, Clarfield is look­ing to ex­pand her vi­sion for Com­pete for the Cure.

“We hope to have it an­nu­ally and have new peo­ple take on lead­er­ship roles and sort of pass on the torch as they get older,” she said.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Lauren and her fa­ther, Dr. Michael Clarfield, dur­ing a ski trip to Whistler last March.

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