The Runner

Riley SenftBefore you can understand the tale of Dr. Riley Senft’s cross-Canada run for cancer, you need to know what it took to get there. The eldest of 3 children, Riley grew up a high energy ADD kid, challenged by permanent hearing loss in one ear. Yet, with determination, and the support of his family, he learned to channel his energy. His goal in adolescence? To attend the best possible university he could. To achieve this, Riley had to balance the tough academic demands and extracurricular endeavours required for entrance. Graduating Head Boy of Collingwood School, a member of its first 15 rugby team and a highly regarded YMCA camp councilor, Riley entered Yale University.

Throughout his 4 years at Yale, he continued helping others. A campus volunteer, he led a group of Yale Students and cycled coast to coast across the United States, raising funds and helping to build homes to benefit Habitat for Humanity. He graduated with a degree in Behavioural Neuroscience Psychology.

Contemplating what to do next, Riley migrated to Whistler, BC for the winter, though he wasn’t about to

fall into the lifestyle celebrated in classic movies like Ski School and Hot Dog. He worked as a Ski Instructor and on the Ski Patrol. At this point, he had a new goal – to become a doctor, and soon after he was off to the University College Cork. This isn’t to be confused with an introductory Wine-O course at one of Whistler’s white table cloth restaurants. The university is located in Cork, Ireland. Riley left his family and friends behind for six years of medical study in Ireland and the reality that he would need to jump through hoops to practice in Canada. Things were further complicated when he met an Irish lass, his long-time girlfriend, Dr. Sarah O’Connor. All of a sudden, Ireland wasn’t so bad.

Six years overseas, and Riley had two choices; settle into life as Dr. Riley Senft in Ireland, or tackle the challenge of gaining acceptance into a medical specialty based in Canada. The second choice would require convincing Sarah to join him. The rest is history. Riley became a resident in Anesthesiology at the University of Manitoba. Sarah secured a research position in Winnipeg and soon begins a residency there in Family Medicine.

At this point the story ends for most. Most would finish their 5 year residency and continue along a well-travelled medical path. But somewhere along that path, emptiness built. Riley lost a grandfather to Prostate Cancer and watched his father battle the same disease for the second time in 5 years. He was also well aware of the astonishing statistics associated with Prostate Cancer. One in six Canadian men will be diagnosed with the disease. Given his family history, his chance more than doubles. Considering Riley has a brother, he believes with certainty that one of the two Senft boys will face the same disease. He also knows that current Prostate Cancer treatments post a success rate of over 90% when caught in the early stages.

Riley runningBy giving Prostate Cancer the finger along his coast to coast run, Riley will make it known to Canadian men in the 25-44 age group that early detection is the first step to action. That is why he will log an average of 60km/day over 6 months. From Cape Spear, NL to Vancouver, BC, Riley will raise awareness and funding, one step at a time.