Matthew Cervi didn't understand the importance of raising funds for cancer research until it hit him directly.
His father passed away from lung cancer at the age of 80 just last year. Watching him go through the treatment process was a life-changing experience, he recalls, and that's when he knew he had to do something to give back.
That's when he decided to join BC Cancer Foundation's Workout to Conquer Cancer – a 31 day challenge taking place this May where participants commit to working out every day to raise critical funds for life-saving research and care at the BC Cancer Agency.
"It was a profound experience in my life," the Richmond resident says. "What my sister and I went through during that time changed my attitude and views on life immensely."
It's important to recognize that cancer is a disease that affects everyone in some way, he adds.
"I'm one of those people that never actually donated beforehand I thought cancer would never touch me," he says. "Now I go out of my way to do everything that I can, every little bit to help out. My goal really is to inspire others to do the same."
The funds raised from Workout to Conquer Cancer will have a direct impact on improving outcomes for cancer patients across the province.
Cervi has almost doubled his initial fundraising goal of $1500 only half-way through the challenge. Now sitting at $2700 total raised, he said the process has been a rewarding experience for him.
"I always wanted to get more consistent with my exercise regimen and at the end of this, if I can go 31-days straight, I've set up a solid foundation of moving forward with my goal of being more physically active," he says.
"With this challenge you really have the opportunity to shake things up. Once you get through the first week you gain more energy and everything becomes easier as the month moves along."