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Giving Tuesday: Edmonton man in clinical cancer trial thanks to donations from Albertans

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It's Giving Tuesday, and because many Canadians are likely to donate less this year because of inflation, charities are issuing a reminder of why those donations are so important.

Mike Zurawell was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma last November.

He had a 24-centimetre tumour growing in his abdomen.

Doctors told him if the cancer hadn't been detected, he would have died within days.

"Once I was admitted into the hospital, one of the doctors that was there told us that 'You were about a week away from dying.' And that was very earth shattering," Zurawell told CTV News Edmonton.

His cancer is more complex than many and treatment options are limited.

He's now part of a clinical trial, thanks to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

"Clinical trials in Alberta are 100 per cent supported by donors," Ryan Kelly of the Alberta Cancer Foundation said.

"Clinical trials really provide that pathway for people who have really complex or difficult cancers to treat. Everybody's familiar with radiation and chemotherapy and surgery as the more common pathways for cancer. But clinical trials are really how we help people who, for whatever reason, those treatments just don't work."

The foundation has a goal of raising $300,000 by the end of the year to support patients like Zurawell, and for Giving Tuesday, Basecamp Resorts will match donations to the foundation, up to $30,000.

"[Mike's] story is proof positive of the power of donations and supporting cancer research," Kelly said.

"Mike didn't have a lot of options, and clinical trials now are stepping in to help support him, to help provide hope to him, and ultimately, to provide more moments for him and his family to spend time together."

Zurawell says he's grateful for the opportunity to be part of the trial, and for everyone who donated to the foundation.

"With this trial I don't have a lot of side effects. I don't have a lot of the pains and the side effects that happen with your traditional cancer treatments. So I'm able to do a lot of things that I could do normally, or that I could do before I was diagnosed," he said.

"I'm the direct recipient of donations, and I am here to talk to you today because of those donations that have been made in previous years."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Miriam Valdes-Carletti 

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