"I don't want to brag, but I've got a pretty good outlook on life."
As positive affirmations go, it's not a surprising thing to hear someone say, until you learn that that someone is 80-year-old Bob Fairweather, who survived cancer. Twice.
In the early 2000s, the North Shore resident became part of a cohort nobody wants to join: the approximately 30,000 British Columbians who are diagnosed with cancer each year.
"I developed a small lump on the side of my nose by my eye," recalls Fairweather. "I was sent for a CT scan, which revealed a growth in the cavity behind my eye in my sinus. I was diagnosed with lymphoma, and received radiation therapy every day for about six weeks. Luckily, they caught it early."
In 2016, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, again. This time, a black spot developed on his face, but before Fairweather saw his family doctor, it had disappeared. "It was really weird," he remembers.
However, his left leg was also swollen, and an ultrasound identified lumps in his groin. A subsequent under-arm lymph node biopsy detected cancer.
"I underwent about six months of chemotherapy," he reveals. In remission today, Fairweather goes for blood tests every six months. "So far — knock on wood — everything's gone well."
Impact of donor generosity
Fairweather became a passionate annual donor to the BC Cancer Foundation in 2016. It became a way for him to acknowledge the exceptional care and treatment he received while supporting solutions today that will have an impact for generations to come.
"It's a way to show thanks that I've come through it well," he says.
In 2017, he set up a future gift to the Foundation through his life insurance policy. Like many B.C. donors, his planned giving helps BC Cancer researchers know their studies will continue to receive funding for future breakthroughs.
"Nobody knows what the future holds, and if by giving you can advance some research that might impact your own life or the lives of your friends and relatives, then it's really something that's worthwhile doing."
BC Cancer Foundation is the largest philanthropic funder of cancer care and research in the province, where every dollar raised stays in B.C. in support of BC Cancer.
The Foundation has a long history of challenging limits and achieving what was thought impossible. In 2022, they launched a $500 million fundraising campaign to transform cancer care and research in B.C. – the largest health fundraiser in the province’s history.
Generous donations help fund crucial advancements in cancer research and care at BC Cancer, something Fairweather knows all too well, having been one of 80,000 patients per year who depend on BC Cancer.
Life beyond cancer
BC Cancer experts are among the top in the world for both cancer research and care and afford patients the ability to live productive, healthy lives beyond cancer.
"I continue to do the things I enjoy, and now I'm in great shape," says Fairweather. "I go through life always looking on the bright side; having a positive outlook I think helps the restorative actions of the doctors."
Fairweather has been able to return to his love of golf. He's a 12 handicap, but with his optimism, and clean bill of health, thanks to BC Cancer experts, it wouldn't surprise anyone to see him with an 11 handicap in no time.