Cameron Van Klei, left, and Jayden Lee
Cameron Van Klei, left, and Jayden Lee

Two members of Century 21 Creekside Realty recently completed a 103-km run in support of B.C. Children’s Hospital.

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Sales rep Jayden Lee and Century 21 Creekside Realty owner Cameron Van Klei started at the C21 office in Chilliwack at midnight on October 2 and ran 103 km to B.C. Children’s Hospital. Their endurance was put to the test but they were able to complete the run in 11.5 hours, excluding break times. They also beat their fundraising goal and raised $125,367 while lifting patients’ spirits along the way.

Jayden Lee, Cameron Van Klei
Jayden Lee, Cameron Van Klei

The effort has a personal connection for Lee, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2015 when he was 15-years-old. He completed his chemotherapy in 2018.

“I wanted to give back to the hospital that helped me through the difficult 3 1/2 years of treatment,” he says. During a late-night brainstorm, Van Klei mentioned the idea of running to the hospital and they both laughed it off, as Lee knew how long the trek was from his numerous drives from Chilliwack to Vancouver during his time as a patient. The next morning Lee tried a 10-km run and was sold on his friend’s crazy idea.

Van Klei and Lee first met at a Century 21 Creekside Realty career night and quickly became good friends. Although Lee originally wanted to pursue a career in nursing after seeing first-hand all the amazing work they do, he didn’t have enough volunteer hours due to his time in the hospital. While working towards completing it, Lee’s father mentioned the C21 Creekside careers night, knowing his son had always been interested in real estate. Lee attended and quickly realized helping people find their forever homes was his true calling. He completed the Realtors course right out of high school and joined the Century 21 Creekside Realty team in 2018.

Training for the journey was essential as neither of the men were long-distance runners. Starting January 2, they followed a strict training guideline that Lee’s grandmother, a Boston Marathon runner, had created specifically for them. Their preparation had many setbacks, including Lee being out for about 2 1/2 months due to a knee injury. But that did not stop him. Once he was healed, he completed a 31 km, 42 km and 60 km run in three consecutive weeks. Van Klei also suffered a knee injury and after 72 km had to bike a portion of the 103 km run to give the injury some rest.

Although the training and run were both physically and mentally demanding, the pair had plenty of motivation to keep them going. “Being able to say that I spent 3 1/2 years at Children’s and was able to run from Chilliwack to Vancouver was just one of the things that motivated me,” says Lee. On the day of the event, family, friends, supporters and patients created signs and cheered the runners on in their last kilometres. Children who couldn’t go outside supported from their hospital windows and lined the route with their pictures and treatment stories to help motivate Van Klei and Lee through the finish line. Van Klei says, “I really underestimated how much hope Lee’s story brought to a bunch of the kids.”

“‘Make everyday count’ has been Century 21 Creekside’s motto for years and that’s really what this whole run was about,” Lee says. “I think it’s important in life to do things that are out of your comfort zone and scare you because that’s how you grow. I never knew I was capable of running over 100 km, but I do now and I grew a lot as a person along the way. I feel like I was given a second chance on this earth to use my story to help others and show these kids that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

The money raised will go toward life-saving medical equipment and research for childhood illnesses at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

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