Research grant named in honour of Port Coquitlam man

A research grant was awarded Thursday in honour of a Port Coquitlam resident who has been fighting terminal prostate cancer for almost seven years after he was given three years to live.

"I've done a fair amount of stuff, between the team and myself, we've done quite a bit of stuff raising money," Ron Johnson said, "so it's pretty special, I really appreciate it."

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Johnson learned in February 2008 that he had terminal prostate cancer and was given less than three years to live. When a co-worker later suggested doing the Father's Day Do It For Dad prostate cancer walk/run, Johnson agreed to join, jokingly naming the team "Pain in the Ass."

The name stuck - and so did the Johnsons' participation in the event. Each year since, Johnson and his wife, Jean, run the 10.8 km route. They've also held fundraising dances and bottle drives to help raise money, and, so far, they've collected more than $55,000 for prostate cancer research.

"A cure is too late for me, but I feel strongly about helping others so they won't have to go through this struggle I face daily," Johnson wrote in a letter to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

He also praised the work of his teammates, saying that without them, he's "just one guy dealing with a personal issue. The team makes it a community that works together getting the word out on this issue, which affects one in six or seven men in their lifetime."

The recipient of the 2014 Pioneer Award was announced at the Prostate Cancer Foundation BC's event at Vancouver General Hospital on Thursday.

Jacob Gordon, a PhD student in UBC's faculty of pharmaceutical sciences, was awarded a grant for his research paper on "targeting SR-B1-mediated cholesterol influx and intercellular cholesterol synthesis to suppress de novo steroid genesis and castration-resistant prostrate cancer progression."

Visit www.prostatecancerbc.ca or www.painintheass.ca for more information or to donate. Bottle donations can also be made at the Biggar bottle depot on Kingsway Avenue in Port Coquitlam under the account name "Pain in the Ass."

spayne@tricitynews.com

@spayneTC

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