Pictured: Dr. Howard Conter.

Originally published by the Chronicle Herald  |   By Joey Fitzpatrick

On Oct. 1, Dr. Howard Conter will be among the 1,400 participants taking part in the BMO Ride for Cancer.

While this will be his third time riding in this important fundraiser, the 2022 BMO Ride will have special meaning for the Halifax family physician, who had his own cancer scare earlier this year.

“In April, I had a CT scan that identified a lesion in my bowel,” he says. A colonoscopy identified several lesions that were at least pre-cancerous. “Due to the dedication of my specialist, I had surgery and had half of my large bowel removed.”

According to Dr. Conter, luckily, the pathology showed no cancer.

“It’s very important to find things early,” Dr. Conter says. “We need to do the appropriate testing to find polyps and cancerous cells early, to prevent people from requiring additional treatments and to save lives.”

It’s especially important as Nova Scotia has one of the highest cancer rates in Canada, impacting people across the province.

“It is a terrible disease that knows no boundaries,” Dr. Conter says. “Our best bet for success in combating cancer is to detect it as early as possible and, if that’s not possible, fight it with the most personalized cancer treatment options available.”

That is what makes the BMO Ride for Cancer such an important event. Each participant commits to raise a minimum of $1,000, with many, like Dr. Conter, pushing themselves to surpass that fundraising goal to create the biggest impact possible on local cancer care.

The generosity of donors will be amplified in a large way on June 23. The Wadih M. Fares Family Foundation will match all donations made today to BMO Ride for Cancer, up to $100,000.

A single-day $200,000 boost will have a major impact because the funds being raised here will stay here. This year’s BMO Ride for Cancer proceeds will help fund a cutting-edge cancer-fighting technology – called personalized radiotherapy – at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

Developed here at home, this technology has the potential to target radiation beams like never before. The vision is treatment that is completely personalized, based on the shape and movement of a patient’s tumour and anatomy mere minutes before their treatment begins.

“This is state-of-the-art technology,” Dr. Conter points out. “It aims to isolate and treat cancer quicker, with less collateral damage.”

This technology aims to reduce the number of radiation treatment sessions from 25 to five for certain cancers, condense up to seven weeks of daily radiotherapy treatment sessions to just one week or less, improve cancer outcomes, lessen treatment side effects, and ensure more patients spend less time in hospital and more time at home with their families.

This is what Dr. Conter and 1,400 other BMO Ride participants are riding for in 2022. Dr. Conter encourages everyone to get involved and join the fight by sponsoring a rider in their life.

“There are very few families that haven’t been touched by cancer in some way,” Dr. Conter shares. “Improving cancer care will help all Nova Scotians, and that’s why this Ride is so important.”

Today (June 23), all donations to BMO Ride for Cancer are being matched by the Wadih M. Fares Family Foundation, up to $100,000. Double your impact now when you support Dr. Conter or another BMO Ride participant at YourRideforCancer.ca or 902 334 1546.