Diagnosed on the cusp of adulthood, Simon Williams was thrust into being an adult far too quickly. When most kids were dating and looking to enroll in University, Simon was spending all of his time at the Toronto General Hospital meeting with oncologists and making life and death decisions.
Simon was diagnosed with leukemia at the early age of 17 and what followed were eight years of intensive cancer treatment and an unrelated bone marrow transplant when he was almost 26. Years of recovery shadowed his treatment and life really just began for Simon when he reached 30. “I have focused a lot of energy on a healthy lifestyle and living my life to the fullest,” says Simon.
Simon was born in London, England and grew up in Toronto. He moved to Collingwood in 2007 and the same year, Simon and his wife Shirlee formed Buddha Rider – a Yoga & Cycle Studio in Collingwood (http://buddharider.com/). He is a proud father of two 13 year old twin boys and has a university degree in Fine Art History/Business.
As the Director of the events division for Infield Marketing (www.infieldmarketing.com), Simon finds himself giving back to the community and often sharing his story with parents of children going through this disease to give them hope that one day their children may be also be cured.
Simon oversees many events and fundraising initiatives and, in 2010, Simon rode across Canada to raise $35K and as a team, almost $2m, for the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation’s, Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. The journey took the dedicated team 17 days in total to ride from Vancouver to Halifax. “It was exhilarating, exciting, adventurous and extremely emotional,” says Simon.
This year, the Run.ca event takes place on September 22nd, from Toronto to Blue Mountain and again on October 13th, from Ottawa to Montreal. “This year, we are anticipating 700 participants alone in the Toronto to Blue Mountain Run,” says Communications Manager, Sara Forbes.
The Sears Great Canadian Run is a long distance team running relay that raises funds and awareness for childhood cancer research and treatment at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Teams of up to 20 will run 100 km. or 125 km. relay-style from north of Toronto to Blue Mountain Village. There’s also a 25 km. option from Stayner to Blue Mountain Village.
The top Toronto fundraising team last year was Journey for Jacob (over $70,000 raised). They’re a team of family and friends who are rallying for a 4 year old boy who is battling Stage 4 Wilm’s Tumor (liver cancer). Please view their page here: http://searscanada.akaraisin.com/pledge/Team/Home.aspx?seid=4839&mid=10&tid=41366.
Simon firmly believes that anything is possible. For more information about The Relay to End Kids Cancer (Great Canadian Run), visit: