Are you fearless? Celebrities and athletes among those who confront their fears to support people living with cancer

TORONTO, Aug. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - From spiders to heights, to singing in public, no fear is too big or too small to be included in the Fearless Challenge, a new online fundraiser launched today by the Canadian Cancer Society.

"The Canadian Cancer Society is committed to creating a world where no Canadian fears cancer, but we are not there yet," says Susan Drodge, Director of Corporate and Community Partnerships for the Cancer Society in Ontario. "We know that more work needs to be done because a cancer diagnosis is still one of the scariest things a person can face."

The Fearless Challenge invites people to be fearless in confronting their fears to help those living with cancer do the same.

In 2014, more than 191,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in Canada and more than 76,000 are expected to die from the disease. In spite of these daunting statistics there is good news. More people are surviving cancer than ever before. Today, over 60% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer will survive as compared to only 25% in the 1940s when the Society began funding research.

Money raised through the Fearless Challenge will fund more life-saving cancer research and help patients and their families through support services, ensuring that no one living with cancer has to face it alone.

Cancer is such a common disease, it touches everyone. No one is immune, no matter how famous they are. It's for this reason that some of Canada's best known celebrities and athletes are showing their support for the Fearless Challenge.

Shannon Tweed-Simmons, wife of Kiss singer Gene Simmons and star of W Network's Shannon and Sophie, is using her name and profile to promote the Fearless Challenge. "So many people's lives are touched by cancer," says Tweed-Simmons. "It seems we all have family or friends who've had to face the fear that comes with the disease. My aunt and cousin both passed from cancer and I was quite nervous to be told I needed a biopsy as well. All went well with me so far I will stay vigilant. However that is not the case with a lot of women. I'm so pleased that I could be a part of the Canadian Cancer Society's Fearless Challenge so that I can do my part to make this disease less scary in the future."

Tommy Mac, bassist for the Juno-award winning band Hedley, knows first-hand about fear related to the disease. Mac is a cancer survivor and he is using his name to promote the Fearless Challenge. "I think the Fearless Challenge is a new and exciting way to reframe the conversation around cancer," says Mac. "It's important that we look at fear, because it's something that hasn't really been touched upon before as a way of fundraising. Looking into the mind of a person who has faced their worst fear, 'cancer' is the most fearful terrible word out there, so I think it's a new interesting way to re-examine things."

As a wide receiver for the Toronto Argonauts, Mike Bradwell isn't afraid of much… except for heights. If Bradwell reaches his fundraising goal of $5,000 he will confront his fear by doing the CN Tower's EdgeWalk. "My aunt had to face the fear of cancer, so when I was approached to participate in the Fearless Challenge I immediately wanted to donate my time to the fundraiser. It was important for me to do what I could to help the Canadian Cancer Society take the fear out of cancer."

In total 20 high-profile Canadians are endorsing or participating in the Fearless Challenge, including:

  • Jason Priestly, star of Beverly Hills 90210 and HBO Canada's Call Me Fitz
  • Jesse Palmer, Canadian sports commentator and former NFLer
  • Natalie Brown, star of FX's new series The Strain, who will face her fear of swimming in a cold dark lake
  • Italia Ricci, star of ABC Spark's new series Chasing Life and the film Don Jon, will face her fear of giving up control while she sits as a passenger as her boyfriend, Robbie Amell star of CTV's The Flash, drives a racecar
  • Jonathan Keltz, star of CTV's Reign and Entourage, who will face his fear of spiders

Participating in the Fearless Challenge is easy. All it takes is three simple steps:

  1. Film a short video stating the fear you'd like to overcome and for how much,
  2. Register at FearlessChallenge.com and ask your friends and family for donations and,
  3. Once you've hit your fundraising goal, upload a video proving that you've faced your fear.

The Fearless Challenge is open to people age 13 years and older. Visit FearlessChallenge.com today to register a fear, upload a video and start fundraising.

About the Canadian Cancer Society
Through our mission, the Canadian Cancer Society fights more than 200 different types of cancer on numerous fronts. From cancer prevention activities to advocacy efforts on important issues, we give a voice to cancer patients and their families. We also fund the best research and offer information and support services that are proven to decrease stress and anxiety in patients and caregivers. The work of the Canadian Cancer Society is supported by our volunteers and the generous support the Fearless Challenge and other fundraising campaigns such as Daffodil Month and Relay For Life. To learn more, call 1 888 939-3333 or visit cancer.ca.


SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

For further information:

or to book an interview opportunity, please contact:

Shannon Stephaniuk, shannon@glossyinc.com, 416 301-0506
Camille Beaubien, cbeaubien@ontario.cancer.ca, 416 323-7181


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