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Rick Fall passed Regina on Friday, marking the halfway mark of his cross-country run to raise money for childhood cancer.
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Lynn Giesbrecht Rick Fall stands by his RV in Regina, Saskatchewan, on June 4, 2021. Fall runs across Canada to raise money for Make-A-Wish Canada and Childhood Cancer Canada. Photo by BRANDON HARDER /Regina Leader-Post
After a decade of being involved in his local Terry Fox run, Rick Fall thought it was time to do his own cross-country run.
Working as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. gave Fall plenty of opportunities to see just how hard cancer can hit young children.
“I’ve seen a number of children go through cancer, some have succumbed to it, and just some of the hardships that the families of children with cancer have where they can’t afford… to undergo the treatment or the treatments themselves,” said he. .
His mother also died of cancer in 2013, but Fall decided to use his running abilities to raise money for the youngest cancer victims, in partnership with Childhood Cancer Canada and Make-A-Wish Canada.
“I just thought, ‘Well, why not deal with childhood cancer?’ Because they are our future and if we can find a cure for childhood cancer, so much the better for them and the world,” Fall said.
The marathon runner decided he would run back to his home community in Ontario from Victoria, BC and estimated that the journey would take him 100 running days if he averaged 42 kilometers – a full marathon – per day.
He had hoped to do his cross-Canada run last year, but the onset of the pandemic postponed his plans. This year, however, autumn could not be postponed. He and his wife Colette packed the essentials they needed into an RV — which they painted to raise awareness of Fall’s run — and set out across the country.
Rick Fall, right, stands with wife Colette Fall and their dog at the couple’s RV in Regina, Saskatchewan on June 4, 2021. Rick Fall runs across Canada to raise money for Make-A-Wish Canada and Childhood Cancer Canada . Photo by BRANDON HARDER /Regina Leader-Post
Fall began his journey on April 12. On Friday, he passed Regina, which he believes was halfway through.
But COVID-19 has made fundraising more difficult. While planning the trip last year, Fall had set a goal of raising $300,000. He largely planned to raise the money by stopping at schools to talk about his run and asking for donations through offices. Now he and Colette are trying to get support by phone and email.
As of Saturday, Fall said they’ve raised about $50,000 and he hopes that number will increase faster as he gets closer to home.
But inspiring others to take on challenges is part of why Fall wanted to run anyway, and he hopes people who hear of his journey will be motivated to find ways to keep going through the hardships.
“When the going gets tough, change your plans. Do not give up. If you have something in mind and you have a passion for doing it, do it,” he said.
Anyone interested in donating or following Fall’s journey can do so on his website at fallorick.com.