Johan Swinnen is a cancer researcher at the university of Leuven in Belgium. When his 13-year-old son got diagnosed with cancer, he promised to run from Leuven to Santiago de Compostela in the north of Spain (2300km). In his backpack he carried letters from more than 800 cancer patients. Two years later, he ran from Leuven to Rome in Italy (2000km) and symbolically connected thousands of cancer patients. In 2023, Johan ran from Harlingen in the Netherlands along the Rhine, one of the longest rivers in Europe, all the way to its source in the Swiss Alps. Along his run, he collected hundreds of paper boats dedicated to people who passed away from cancer. Johan has captured his journey on film (‘Closer to heaven, back to the sea’) as a tribute to those we miss.