Alberta man walking over 1,000 km through B.C. to honour family lost to cancer

“I’ll do anything I can to get a cure for this disease. If I had to walk to the moon, I would.”

Dwayne Buckle is walking from Red Deer, across the Rockies, through the Kootenays, into the Lower Mainland, and all the way up Vancouver Island to Port Hardy.

Buckle set out on foot from Red Deer, Alta. on Oct. 21 – 1,172 kilometres away. He’s made it as far as Golden, B.C. now.

Some have called him crazy, but the 40-year-old’s motivation comes from two family members he lost to cancer, just five days apart. His aunt and cousin stood by Buckle when he was younger, doing everything they could to help set him right.

“They went the distance for me and I didn’t realize how hard they were trying to fix my life,” he said.

As the snow is beginning to fall and a pandemic is raging doesn’t seem like an ideal time to start a trek. But that’s the point, Buckle said.

“Is it ever a good time to get cancer? My family didn’t get to choose the time either.” Touché.

He credits his grandfather, aunt and a cousin for where he is now. They believed in him and stood by him. It just took a while for Buckle to recognize it. They encouraged him to get a job, to get training, so he pursued a career in firefighting.

Days after he completed his certifications, his aunt passed away from cancer. Five days later, his cousin died.

“This is why I’m walking; for the people that didn’t give up on me. I think of them every day. I miss them like crazy. They may not have walked as far as I am, but they never gave up on me,” Buckle wrote on his Facebook page, Hike for the Cure 2020.

You can follow Buckle’s journey on Facebook where he posts daily updates on his journey.

Dwayne Buckle on Hightway 1 en-route from Red Deer to Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
The long road ahead. (Dwayne Buckle photo)

Dwayne Buckle on Hightway 1 en-route from Red Deer to Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
The long road ahead. (Dwayne Buckle photo)

It took him seven days of walking to reach the B.C. border. A few days of rest, and he trekked on again to Golden.

Buckle trudges for at least 20 kilometres on a slow day, or as long as necessary to reach the next town. His current record is 87 kilometres in one day. He’s mostly sticking to the Trans Canada Highway.

Next up is Rogers Pass, a dangerous crossing in the Selkirk Mountains east of Revelstoke. His friends don’t want him walking it alone, but he’s not willing to miss a single step, so they’ve arranged to act as a pace car, waiting for him after each snow tunnel. Every night they’ll leave a marker in the snow, drive to a place to rest, and come back the next day until he’s through the pass.

As personal as the journey is, Buckle also wants to raise money for cancer research. Donations can be directed to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“I wish there were things I could have done to help them. I’ll do anything I can to get a cure for this disease. If I had to walk to the moon, I would.”

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


Cancer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Village of Sayward)
Sayward elects new mayor and two council members

New mayor-elect Mark Baker and council members will be sworn in on Dec. 1.

The Strathcona Regional District received Safe Restart funding from the provincial government. File photo
SRD receives provincial safe restart funding

Allocation of funds to be determined by staff

Jessi Vanderveen (left), healthyway Assistant supplements manager, and Tara Jordan, CR KidStart Coordinator,  announce that Healthyway Natural Foods will match in-store donations to John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, up to $1,000. Photo contributed
Help John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday

John Howard KidStart needs your help this Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Two… Continue reading

Pathway To Freedom, a non-profit society based in Surrey, wants to open two men’s addiction recovery houses in Campbell River as early as next April. Metro Creative photo
Two new addictions recovery houses could be on their way to Campbell River

‘I just want to help. That’s my hometown. And enough is enough.’

Ian Baikie shows the new booths at the Harbourside Inn restaurant space, which is being converted to a community kitchen for Campbell River’s population of vulnerable people. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
PHOTOS: New community kitchen coming to Campbell River

Kitchen will provide a safe, warm place for vulnerable population to eat in downtown core

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

Most Read