Inspired by Canadian icons Terry Fox and Rick Hanson, an Ontario man is running across Canada to raise funds for kids affected by cancer or other childhood-related illnesses.
Rick Fall, 61, started his journey on April 12 in Victoria, British Columbia near his former hometown of Duncan. He expects to finish by mid-August in his new hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. His goal is to run 100 marathons during this trip, a distance of nearly 4,200 kilometres.
His “Fall-o Rick from Home to Home” campaign aims to raise $300,000, with the money split evenly between Childhood Cancer Canada and Make-a-Wish Canada. These causes are close to Fall’s heart since Make-a-Wish Canada granted a wish several years ago to his niece Danielle, 18, who later died from cancer.
“I just think cancers should be looked at from a child’s perspective, and there’s too many childhood cancers that there’s not enough research done to them,” said Fall. “I’m a (now retired) substitute teacher; I’ve seen plenty of children in the school system that have suffered or succumbed to cancers that have not been taken care of.
“Families and children need the extra help and funds to get done what they need to get done.”
His mother also died from lung cancer in 2013.
Fall was in Morse, Sask., on May 31 when he spoke to the Moose Jaw Express by phone. He expects to be in Moose Jaw on Wednesday, June 2, in the afternoon.
Fall runs roughly 42 kilometres each day — or a full-length marathon — with a day off occasionally. His wife Colette drives a support vehicle while he usually runs 14 to 18 kilometres before resting briefly and then completing the rest of his daily run.
“It’s been going really good. Through the mountains was tough for the hills. The weather has been on our side almost the whole way,” he said. “Ran into a couple days of pretty high winds through eastern Alberta. Sometimes the headwinds get a little bit crazy, but it is the Prairies, and I’m prepared to slow down and get done what I can on a daily basis.”
Participating in marathons is old hat for Fall since running is his passion, while he has competed in marathons in Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Berlin and New York City.
Donations can be made through Fall’s website at fallorick.com. He has already raised over $43,000. People can also follow his progress there since he is wearing a GPS tracking device that shows where he is every 10 minutes.
Some Canadians have tracked down Fall using the GPS data, he said. One woman found him and his wife and gave them a dozen free-range eggs since she knew they needed that food source. Meanwhile, a couple who met him in Victoria was driving home to Thunder Bay, Ont., and met him in Herbert, Sask., and stopped to chat.
Moose Javians can also use the GPS tracking system to discover where Fall will be when he arrives on June 2. He will likely end up at the Peanut Hills Campground for the evening.