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Mike Duhacek walked many miles to bury cancer at the Canadian Cancer Society

Jesse Mellott | Fulcrum Staff

On Thursday Feb. 28, Mike Duhacek buried cancer. In a remarkable feat to raise funds and awareness for cancer research, Duhacek pulled a wooden block reading “CANCER” on a sled all the way from Windsor, Ont.to Ottawa, where he put cancer—all 125 pounds of it—in the ground.

Duhacek began his Help Me Bury Cancer trek on Feb. 4 at the University of Windsor’s campus, and ended it at the Ottawa unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, taking over one million steps along the way.

The Help Me Bury Cancer initiative is deeply personal to Duhacek. His mother, Liz Crocket, is currently in treatment for cancer, and he has lost two of his grandparents to the disease as well: his grandmother to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008, and his grandfather to lung cancer in 2010.

“When I tell friends I’m going to pull a heavy sled across Ontario in the middle of winter, they immediately want to know why,” Duhacek wrote on his website. “I’m doing this because of what I have watched my mom endure during her own cancer journey. I am doing this to direct the immense frustration at what has happened to her into something positive and worthwhile.”

According to Heather Gray, interim manager of the Ottawa Community Office of the Canadian Cancer Society, the funds that Duhacek has raised with his initiative will go towards research and help fund programs that the Canadian Cancer Society is involved in.

“We have peer-support programs, transportation, [and] other various cancer information services, which is a source online to learn about prevention of cancer, and also to help [patients] once they have been diagnosed,” said Gray.

Gray said the Canadian Cancer Society is fortunate to have people like Duhacek to help them with fundraising efforts.

“We have amazing support, everything from the seven-year-old that will bring their birthday money in to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society to help people, to people like Mike that take on these incredible feats to raise money for us. Anyone [can] create their own event and we will work with them on that,” Gray said.

Crocket was incredibly moved by her son’s commitment to this project.

“When I read the e-mail Mike sent to me, I felt my eyes burn with tears,” she wrote in a blog post. “I wasn’t sure if it was the stirring visual of my son, connecting with strangers about cancer research while pulling a sled at night, or the fact that everyone is supporting him like he’s a member of their own family. Chances are a family who has been touched by cancer, just like ours.”

To date, Help Me Bury Cancer has raised over $34,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Anyone looking for more information on Duhacek’s initiative can visit helpmeburycancer.org.