Johan and Pieter

Professor Johan Swinnen is a cancer researcher at the KU Leuven and vice-chairman of the Leuven cancer institute (LKI). He’s also the father of a son with cancer, Pieter. Out of gratefulness to still have Pieter with him today, and out of respect for the courage that cancer patients have to muster every day, Johan undertakes a very special journey.

On Monday, August 21, he’ll start an ultramarathon from the University Hospital Gasthuisberg (Leuven) to Santiago de Compostela. He’ll carry along a backpack filled with letters and messages from people fighting cancer or bearing the consequences. In these letters they can write down their experiences, share their worries or express hope. Relatives and friends of patients are also invited to share their message. Upon arrival, Johan will deliver the messages in a symbolical fashion.

100km per day…!

Johan intends to reach Compostela by the end of September, which means he’ll have to run 80 to 100km per day! This is a tremendous physical challenge. He’ll be accompanied by a small support crew, and has scheduled one day of rest per week.

If you want to keep up with Johan’s journey, make sure to check out the route and ‘Journal’ – pictures, announcements and blog posts can be found here.

The runner


Pieter also contributed to this initiative in a special way. He drew a runner that’s the spitting image of his father. The runner can be found on notebooks and totebags. We intend to reach out to Pieter’s peers with these items. The revenue of the sales will go directly to the LKI. Because of practical reasons, these sales will be held in the immediate surroundings of Leuven. Keep an eye on our Facebook-page and Instagram-account to find out more!

Thanks to:  acco leuven    kul    medica leuven    uccll   sancta maria leuven