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Johnny Fung is passionate about raising cancer awareness. (Photo: The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation​).

Johnny Fung, 57, admits that he didn’t know much about cancer prior to his diagnosis in 2006.

“A lot of people, especially Chinese people, are afraid of talking about cancer,” he said.

Statistics show that Canadians of Chinese origin are the only group in Canada in whom cancer is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

“After I got my health back, I’ve involved myself a lot in raising cancer awareness,” he added.

On Oct. 1, Fung will be joined by researchers, clinicians, and fellow patients from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre as part of a radiothon on A1 Chinese Radio (AM 1540/FM 91.9). The live fundraising broadcast will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Fung recalls the bleakness he felt upon being diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer with a liver metastasis. With a wife and three children, Fung was worried about supporting his family during his colon and liver resection surgeries, as well as his chemotherapy treatments.

“I wished that I didn’t have to come here,” he said. “But when I came [to The Princess Margaret], I felt that I was in the best hands. Honestly, I was in the best hands.”

Fung had additional support from his niece, Esther Fung, who is currently Pharmacy Director of Corporate Business and Outpatient Operations at University Health Network.

Knowing that her uncle was in the hands of Dr. Malcolm Moore, Head of Medical Oncology and Hematology, put Esther’s mind at ease.

“I felt so much better knowing that Dr. Moore was taking Johnny on as his patient. Johnny is a testament to Personalized Cancer Medicine at The Princess Margaret and Dr. Moore’s team,” she said. “As of today, he is cancer-free and living life to the fullest.”

Fung confessed that he’s usually shy, but that he has had no trouble spreading the word for cancer awareness.

Reflecting on his own cancer journey, Fung said, “During that time, I saw a lot of [fellow] patients. That was hard and saddening. You really see how widespread this disease is.”

He continued, “Even though the time I went through during chemotherapy was not a good time…I know that, compared to five years ago, side effects have greatly lessened. So it was tough, but not unbearable. The advances in medical science have really helped patients.”

The Oct. 1 Chinese radiothon will be broadcast live on A1 Chinese Radio (AM 1540/FM 91.9) from the main atrium at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Researchers, clinicians, and patients will be interviewed in both Mandarin and Cantonese on air from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All proceeds raised by radio listeners will support the new gold standard for Personalized Cancer Medicine at The Princess Margaret. For more information, please visit chinese.thepmcf.ca or www.thepmcf.ca​.

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