Water, t-shirts, shorts, jogging shoes, sunscreen, bug spray and that is about it! That is my list for my 676-kilometre hike across the province of Saskatchewan in my attempt to raise awareness of and funding for Huntington Disease research. I have published my itinerary here and as expected it will already have to be adjusted. I have an interview scheduled with CTV on July 13, as well as a potential media opportunity in Moose Jaw later that morning.
The pace has definitely picked up here in the last couple of days. My best friend John Bickner at Bickner Trucking Ltd. in Vanguard, SK was concerned about my safety and well-being while on the road. He made more than a few calls and managed to secure a few sponsors so that I would be looked after in terms of accommodations and nutrition. So far, Bickner Trucking Ltd. in Vanguard, Sterling Truck and Trailer Sales Ltd. in Regina, The Village of Vanguard, and Full Line Ag Ltd. in Swift Current have come together in order to help me across the province (I have one more to come, but will release that information shortly). Level Coaching has put together a comprehensive nutrition plan for me to follow in order to minimize the chances of me basically self-destructing on the side of the highway in the middle of the province (let’s face it in my mind I still feel anywhere from 7-17 years old, but at 46 I’m a bit of a geezer).
I also have had some other help along the way. Sport Chek in Swift Current set me up with some jogging shoes and athletic socks, Swift Current Pharmasave and Walmart Swift Current provided me with bottled water for the trip and Et Cetera in the Swift Current Mall even gave me a microwave steamer so that I can raffle it off to all my Twitter and Facebook followers and retweeters.
Thanks everyone for helping me out!
In addition, thank you to everyone who has been donating to the Huntington Society of Canada online and through me. I set my goal of 10,000 dollars, and I am basically there already and still four days away from starting the walk. Thank you so much!
I also have some readers tuning in from places like India, Finland, The UK and the United States. Welcome! I should tell you about Saskatchewan:
My home province of Saskatchewan is a trapezoid in the middle of Canada. We are one of only two landlocked provinces in our country (though we have about 100,000 lakes most of which nobody ever sees). We are slightly larger than the country of France in area but with 65 times fewer people. Yes, that means we only have about 1 million people in our entire province. Our 1 million people though, produce a whole lot of food (if you have eaten bread, margarine, or lentils, you’ve likely had a taste of Saskatchewan), oil and gas (unless you are from the United States though, you likely haven’t had our oil. We only get to sell it to ourselves or the United States – long story.) and Uranium (if your electricity is generated by a nuclear reactor, the uranium used to power it came from us). Also, potash; if your farmers put fertilizer on their fields it probably came from about 3500 feet below the surface of my province. We are kind of the Saudi Arabi of potash.
One aspect of the disease that I haven’t touched on at all, is the Juvenile form of Huntington Disease or Juvenile HD. I was contacted today by someone that has been affected by this form of Huntington Disease and this manifestation of HD is very sad indeed.
About 10% percent of HD cases are of the juvenile form. Whereas most HD victims remain asymptomatic until around 30-50 years of age, the juvenile incarnation hits kids in their teens (plus or minus a few years) and it hits them hard. Generally speaking, if a teen starts showing symptoms of HD, they won’t see 30 years of age. Misdiagnosis is more likely here too, because a child may show signs before the parent from which they inherited the disease. Symptoms are similar to adult-onset HD with less likelihood of chorea (dance movements) but more likelihood of epileptic seizures.
Wilkie’s population is about 1300 people. It is named after Daniel Robert Wilkie who was president of the Imperial Bank of Canada from 1906-1914. From what I can tell, all of the streets in Wilkie are named after their founder or after the Imperial Bank. The Imperial Bank was the forerunner of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. I started my first bank account with the CIBC because it was the “Bank of the (Toronto) Blue Jays” and because of this commercial:
I should be in Wilkie July 11.
I have effectively shut myself down until Monday. I did go out for a walk with my wife and some friends yesterday that lasted for about 9 kilometres. I took this picture:
Interesting note: I lived in British Columbia for six years. My son was born there. B.C. was great. I even wrote about it here. My born and raised B.C. friends would say they could never be without their mountains. I always felt like the mountains were in the way!
I have worked out a tentative schedule for my walk across the province of Saskatchewan in support of Huntington Disease research and awareness. I totally expect the schedule to be ruined by noon of the first day but if all goes as planned (which it never does) I should be on the road from July 10-27. Here is the breakdown:
July 9 – Sunday
Leave from my hometown of Vanguard SK. Drive to Macklin.
July 10 – Monday
7:00 a.m. – Leave the Alberta/Saskatchewan border.
8:00 a.m. – Arrive in Macklin SK – The rest of the towns are all in Saskatchewan.