Skate4Cancer Founder Rob Dyer Turned His Passions Into A Non-Profit Organization

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Boobs, kittens and a tattooed skateboarder. What do these things have in common – other than your mother’s worst nightmare?

Ironically, it’s an organization your mom might want to jump on board with (no pun intended).

Skate4Cancer is the fundraising organization started in 2004 by a dude, a skateboard and a dream of raising enough people to come up with a cure for Cancer.

I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Rob Dyer, founder of Skate4Cancer, to discuss how he started this organization, his ongoing university tour promoting their new breast cancer awareness campaign, and the opening of Skate4Cancer‘s new Dream Love Cure Centre in Toronto.

Q. What is Skate4Cancer?
A. Skate4Cancer is an organization that focuses on cancer prevention and being a support system for the cancer community.

Q. How did you start Skate4Cancer?
A. When I lost my mother to cancer, I just wanted to do something about it. It was a way to turn something negative in my life into a positive, and it really helped me deal with what was going on at the time. And we just started this thing called Skate4Cancer. The first one was a marathon from Los Angeles to Toronto, and since then we’ve gotten more into campaigns and ways we can get more involved in the cancer community and more ways to hopefully make an impact.

Q. How can other young people make a difference in something they’re passionate about?
A. Just get a group of your friends together and get out there and if you have an idea, you want to make a video, the resources that we have these days are just incredible with YouTube and the Internet. It’s pretty basic. Just get out there, grab some friends that are also stoked on the idea or the message that you want to get across and go for it.

Q.What advice do you have for other students or recent grads who might be interested in pursuing a similar path?
A. I believe in just doing what you love to do. When you do that, it will guide you into a path of passion and good things. For myself, I love skateboarding and cancer was something I really disliked, so I tried to put the two together to do something about it. I think that’s the reason I’m still doing it and why it’s grown as an organization because other people want to be around people who are also passionate about what they do and who believe in the same sort of causes, the same sort of ideals. If you get a chance, don’t be afraid. Just follow your heart.

Q. What was the motivation behind the breast exam and kittens video?
A. We are doing the university tour and when we do our university, college, high school talks, we focus on cancer prevention, but we also focus on doing what you love and being passionate about what you do with your life. And every two months we come up with a new cancer prevention video, and for this one we figured: What’s the most popular thing on YouTube? Kittens! So we figured using kittens to get more hits toward the video will educate more people about how to do a breast examination.

Q. How can schools you haven’t already been to get you to come and talk to them about cancer prevention?
A. Check out our website. We have a section where it talks about our school tours and you just email the link and hopefully we’ll be in your area and be able to come to your school.

Q. What is the Dream Love Cure Centre?
A. The centre will a home for Skate4Cancer. We’ve always been an organization that’s kind of existed out of people’s bedrooms or other work offices, so it’ll be an official home for Skate4Cancer.

But it will also be a cancer community support system, so kids can come in and receive counselling if someone in their life just went through cancer, or went through cancer treatment, or passed away. That kid will be able to come in and receive some counselling, having someone to talk to, be able to relate to someone one-on-one what’s going on in their life. I see that as really important because when I went through it you don’t know who to turn to and the rest of the family going through the same situation, so it’s sometimes hard to turn to them and open up and vent, and you tend to keep it inside, which is really unhealthy.

As well, it’ll be a home for our different campaigns and our Cure Is Knowledge stuff. Hopefully, eventually, upstairs in the centre will be a place for families to stay while one of their loved ones is getting treatment at one of the hospitals in Toronto for cancer. It’s a lot. One stage at a time, though.

Q. Tell us about the upcoming Skate4Cancer documentary.
A. People don’t necessarily know how Skate4Cancer started, so this film crew in Toronto decided to make a documentary about Skate4Cancer since the beginning, where we’re headed, where we’ve been. [The premiere is] February 19 at the Mod Club.

Click here to buy tickets to the Skate4Cancer documentary premiere (and support the Dream Love Cure Centre!). Rob, as well as Kate and Cassandra from TalentEgg, will be there!

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About the author

Kate Morawetz is a recent Media, Information and Technoculture graduate from the University of Western Ontario. She interned at various media gigs in Toronto and LA, before landing her current job at MTV Canada in the Series & Developments department and continues to write about life experiences, the ever present media and generally about things that interest her via her blog One Curly Fry in a Box Full of Regulars. A self proclaimed connoisseur of man-ponies slash creativity junkie, Kate has an eclectic musical taste and enjoys reading, long walks in wooded areas, photography, writing, dry white wines and a good spinach & strawberry salad.