Skate4Cancer was founded in 2003 when Rob Dyer was only 18 years old after he lost his mother, both his grandmothers, and his best friend to cancer, all within one year. Driven by the pain and devastation he felt, Rob decided to channel all of his negative emotions into something that he loved to do: skateboarding. In 2004, he planned a skate marathon that started in Los Angeles, California, and ended in his hometown of Newmarket, Canada. Despite ankle fractures, numerous nights spent sleeping outside on the streets, getting bumped and hit by passing cars, sponsors withdrawing from the skate tour, and other hardships, Rob was able to complete his journey in five months. He wanted to prove to the world that anything is possible, as long as there is the determination to accomplish it. He wanted to show others that despite all the trials in life, something good could still come out of them. He wanted to raise awareness about cancer and encourage people to join him in the fight against it. And he wanted to honor all those who have fought the battle against cancer.
Since the first skate to Canada in 2004, Rob has skated across the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and will be skating across France in 2011. So far, he has skated approximately 12,023 miles! Through skateboarding marathons, S4C hopes to raise money and awareness for cancer. Skate4Cancer’s mission is to hype up youth on the importance of cancer prevention and community building. Although the organization has grown and expanded over the years, that will always be its main focus. Rob and his team strive to create a community that encourages discussion and support for cancer. By working together in this community, Skate4Cancer hopes to drastically reduce the presence of cancer in our society. To create this community, the organization strongly encourages volunteer involvement and even welcomes people to skate with Rob when he passes through their cities (except for on the highways due to safety issues). Besides the skate marathons, Skate4Cancer also throws free events like skateboarding competitions and concerts to bring people together and build up the community. Any donations that are made are immediately given to hospitals and other organizations that Skate4Cancer supports. As these events grew more and more popular and the organization saw how many kids were eager to join the fight against cancer, Rob and his team decided that just raising awareness was not enough. So they decided to start educating the youth on how they could prevent cancer themselves. And that is how the Cure is Knowledge program was born.
The Cure is Knowledge is a branch of Skate4Cancer that strives to encourage healthy living and an active lifestyle in order to prevent cancer. After learning that 80% of all cancers are preventable, Rob was determined to make others realize the importance of understanding that knowledge is currently the only cure for cancer. To educate the youth on cancer prevention, Skate4Cancer has used social media and informative videos, encouraged self-examinations, and started campaigns like Hair4Cancer and Light Up a Smile, Not a Cigarette. To promote these ideas and educate the youth, Rob joined musicians and bands on tour and set up a booth at each show to pass out flyers, talk to kids about cancer and how to prevent it, and encourage healthy discussions about personal experiences with cancer. This tour has now become an annual event to educate people about cancer prevention, and it continues to flourish. Still, Rob saw that cancer is a continuing problem so he decided that something else needed to be done in the fight against cancer. And that is how the idea for the Dream.Love.Cure Centre was created.
The Dream.Love.Cure Centre will serve as a physical place for those who are struggling with cancer, both directly and indirectly, to gather as a community. It will offer support, love, education, and encouragement, and give them a place to share their emotions and stories. Rob knows all about needing support and encouragement when dealing with issues like cancer. After losing so many of his loved ones to cancer, he fought depression, but with the help of his friends, he was able to stay positive and keep moving forward in life. In an interview, Rob stated that “when you lose someone to cancer, I find that there’s not really many places for you to turn because it’s a life-changing experience. And if you don’t have a place that’s non-judgmental, it can be really hard on kids.” That is why Rob and the rest of the team has started to build the centre: to create a safe environment for those of the cancer community. There will be special events, staff to answer questions and provide information, S4C merchandise on sale, a gallery to feature the campaigns, and so much more. There are currently many ideas in the workings for the Dream.Love.Cure Centre, but for now, it is primarily focused on providing a safe haven for those who have been stricken with the devastation of cancer.
Watch Rob’s amazing journey with Skate4Cancer and learn about his future plans for the Dream.Love.Cure Centre in this incredible short documentary.