McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

F.O.G. Hike lifts leukemia research at McMaster

Published: May 22, 2009
Hope Kamin and Jane Robinson
Hope Kamin (left), organizer of the F.O.G. (Friends of Glen) Hike, and Jane Robinson, a cancer survivor and participant

Each step is a celebration and each donation a thank you. That’s how cancer survivor Jane Robinson feels when she participates in the annual F.O.G. (Friends of Glen) Hike in support of the McMaster University Bone Marrow Transplant/Leukemia Research Fund.

Robinson was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in April 1992 when she was 29 years old. After six months of chemotherapy, the cancer went into remission but returned six month later. In October 1993, Robinson received a successful bone marrow transplant from her brother that put her on the road to good health.

"It’s now been almost 16 years. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d get this far," said Robinson, who lives in Guelph. "Once I got well enough, I wanted to do something. I wanted to give something back to the doctors and nurses at McMaster who took such great care of me."

On Sunday, May 24, Robinson will participate in the F.O.G. Hike, now in its eighth year.

The hike was started by Hope Kamin in memory of her late husband, Glen Ferguson, an avid hiker who lost his battle with acute myeloid leukemia in March 2000. Kamin created the hike as a way to give back to the medical and research staff at McMaster University.

"Every year, I am deeply moved by the response to the hike from so many patients, former patients, their families and my friends and family," she said. "Some people are walking in thanks that their loved ones are healthy today. Some are walking in memory of loved ones."

The F.O.G. Hike takes place on the Bruce Trail in Dundas every May. Since its inception, the event has raised approximately $158,000 for the McMaster University Bone Marrow Transplant/Leukemia Research Fund, making it the largest annual contributor to the fund.

In 2008, the F.O.G. Hike saw its largest number of participants yet, with 160 hikers raising $27,000.

The donations have helped physician-researchers like Dr. Brian Leber and Dr. Irwin Walker develop preliminary clinical studies in bone marrow transplantation and leukemic cell research. The funds have also supported staff development and patient care.

"The researchers we’re raising money for – I can’t say enough about the impact that they’ve had on my life and continue to have on my life," Robinson said. "For the worst experience of my life, it was the best one in terms of the care team I had."

For information about the hike, please visit www.foghike.org, or e-mail info@foghike.org. Pledge forms are also available in the Faculty of Health Sciences advancement office, or on Ward 3Z of MUMC.

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