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Wayne Dunn and family in London, Ont., raising $226,000 for the Brain Tumour Canada Foundation in honour of Wayne's daughter, Allison.Handout

The organizer: Wayne Dunn and family

The pitch: raising $226,000 and climbing

The cause: the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada

Just over a year ago, Allison Dunn started getting periodic headaches and she went to a doctor to find out what was wrong.

Within a few weeks, she was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer and she died four months later on June 17, 2020. She’d been an active 33-year-old mother with three young children and a passion for helping others through her work with literacy programs, the local food bank and House of Friendship, a charity in Kitchener, Ont., that provides a range services to those in need.

“It was gut-wrenching,” said her father, Wayne Dunn, 64, a businessman in London, Ont. “All she ever wanted to do was help the unfortunate.”

Ms. Dunn was an avid runner and her family began organizing a run in her honour last spring. “She knew that we were doing a run for her, but she was a little apprehensive about the notoriety,” Mr. Dunn explained. “We called it Dunn with Cancer.”

Ms. Dunn died before the run took place, but nearly 300 people took part in her memory and raised $226,000 for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The family is holding the run again in London, Ont., on Sept. 18 and they hope to turn it into an annual event. So far $150,000 has been earmarked for research grants and a fellowship. “Although a cure would be wonderful, our hope is to make a difference in the quality and extension of life with others who will or have this horrible disease along with their families,” Mr. Dunn said.

The family will never get over the loss of Ms. Dunn, but Mr. Dunn said the run offers some hope that people can make a difference. “If there’s any joy out of this, it’s being able to help people who either have brain cancer or who will get it,” he said.

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