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A Viking’s Challenge was founded by Stage 4 melanoma patient Chris Isfeld and friend Shawn Bjornsson to raise money for fellow patients. (Save Your Skin Foundation)

WINNIPEG, MB, Feb. 20, 2023 – In the very first ‘A Viking’s Challenge’ event in 2020, Chris Isfeld and his childhood friend Shawn Bjornsson completed a massive challenge. Three years after being diagnosed with late stage melanoma and becoming partially paralyzed from the waist down, Chris and Shawn raced each other 30km across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients.

Since then, the pandemic and recurrences of the cancer have prevented Chris from returning to Manitoba to run on the frozen lake, so Chris has pivoted the event to a Canada-wide running challenge, inviting people everywhere to join A Viking’s Challenge by running a distance of their choice anywhere in Canada.

“The first year was really a personal challenge for me to see if I could do it,” said Chris. “A lot of friends said they wanted to join me next time, so I decided to open it up to the general public. I’m really excited to see how many kilometres we can reach together each year.”

Finally, this year, Chris is aiming to be back on the lake with his friend Shawn, despite the ongoing treatments and side-effects that come with fighting a dangerous cancer. Chris is again showing amazing fearlessness and grit by challenging himself both physically and mentally.

By joining A Viking’s Challenge 2023 and pledging to run or walk, participants will make a powerful statement of support for Chris and fellow melanoma patients across Canada. Since its inception, the event has raised $50,000 to help assist patients reach the life- treatment they need.

How it works

To participate, runners must pledge to run a certain number of kilometres. There is a running tally to see how many times participants can “cross” Lake Winnipeg as a group. As of mid-February, 18 participants have pledged to run almost 300km. For those who wish to show their support, but don’t wish to participate in the run, donations are welcome.

About Chris Isfeld

Chris’s story with cancer began in 2017 when he was diagnosed with advanced melanoma. He was given lifesaving immunotherapy treatment just in time. The treatment was challenging but it proved to be effective. The cancer stopped growing and the side effects became more manageable over the next few months. However, in 2022 he experienced a recurrence and did not have the same success with immunotherapy this time. He has since traveled to medical centres in Toronto and Chicago to explore new treatment options and is currently waiting for alternative treatments or clinical trials to become available.

About Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF)

Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF) is a national patient-led not-for-profit group dedicated to leading the fight against non-melanoma skin cancers, melanoma and ocular melanoma through nationwide education, advocacy, and awareness initiatives. Save Your Skin Foundation is committed to playing an active role in reducing the incidence of skin cancer in Canada, and ensuring equal, timely, and affordable access to treatment and compassionate support for all Canadians living with skin cancers.

For more information about the event and to register, visit A Viking’s Challenge 2023

SOURCE Save Your Skin Foundation

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