Man runs from B.C. to Ontario, raises over $69,000 for young cancer patients

Rick Fall ran about the equivalent of a full marathon every day for the past three and a half months while traveling from British Columbia to Ontario.

The 61-year-old has made the grueling journey to raise money for young cancer patients and is said to have completed his run in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on Saturday.

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“People wondered if I could make this happen. But I’m here now and I think it turned out great,” Fall said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Fall began his journey on April 12 in his hometown of Duncan, BC and headed for his current home in Sault Ste. Mary.

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The longtime runner said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Canadian icon Terry Fox, who lost a leg to cancer before starting his ‘Marathon of Hope’ run across the country.

Fall said he was involved with the local Terry Fox Runs and was inspired to start his own journey as he raised donations for Make-A-Wish Canada and Childhood Cancer Canada.

“I never imagined doing something like this until I started working with the Terry Fox Run in 2011,” Fall said. “Then I thought: I’m going to try to do something for society by doing something myself, doing what I like.”

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Fall’s mother and niece both died of cancer. Fall, a retired teacher, said he has also met many children with cancer over the course of his career.

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“Cancer has definitely affected my family. And I think it has touched just about everyone alive, in one way or another,” he said. “I don’t think it will ever go away, but if we can make it easier for people to live with or cure cancer, why not do it?”

When he first started thinking about his trip in 2013, he was reminded of how Make-A-Wish Canada allowed his niece to go to Disney World before she died.

He approached the charity that works with children with critical illnesses, as well as Childhood Cancer Canada, with the idea of ​​running from British Columbia to Ontario and raising funds for them.

The journey took a few years to come to fruition. Fall and his wife — who accompanied him in a support vehicle — began planning logistics, planning the route, raising awareness about his fundraising efforts, and setting up a website in 2015 where daily updates of his journey are posted.

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By Friday, Fall had raised more than $69,000.

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“When Rick first approached us, we thought his idea was both unique and truly inspiring,” said Tiffany MacDonald, vice president of development at Make-A-Wish Canada.

“We can’t thank Rick enough for all of his support throughout his journey… raising much-needed funds to create hope for children who need it most.”

Fall said he plans to get some rest after his trip, but it won’t be the end of his efforts to help cancer charities.

“I’m definitely going to take a break,” he said. “But I plan to continue raising awareness.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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