Time For A Break!

Well, so far I have walked 454 kilometres across the province of Saskatchewan in order to raise awareness and funds for Huntington Disease and the Huntington Society of Canada.

Saturday night (July 22) I made it to the town of Wadena, Saskatchewan. It looks like I am going to turn south now at Wadena and pick up the trail on the Yellowhead Highway heading east towards Yorkton and then the Manitoba border. July 23 is a rest day at my mom’s place in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.  I will go back and pick up my trail Monday, July 24th.

Here are the towns I have covered so far:

Macklin, Evesham, Unity, Wilkie, Landis, Biggar, Perdue, Asquith, Saskatoon, Humboldt, Muenster, Engelfeld, Watson, Quill Lake, Clair, Wadena

Tales From the Road:

  1.  Seth and I were having lunch in Unity, when the waitress asked what I was up to.  I told her that I was walking across Saskatchewan in order to raise awareness about Huntington Disease.  As she went back into the kitchen we could hear her tell the cooking staff: “Hey that guy is running across Canada for Parkinson’s”
  2. As I was about to cross the 25th street bridge in Saskatoon, I came across a young man who had just been arrested.  The Saskatoon police were not messing around.  The young man was handcuffed, with his hands behind his back and was told that he was off to jail.  When he asked why he was being arrested, the police informed him simply and sternly that he had been “jaywalking.”  I did not record the incident, nor did I jaywalk for the rest of the tour through Saskatoon.
  3. About 1 kilometer west of Wadena, I met another walker headed west.  He asked if he could use my cell phone to call his mom and let her know that he was fine.  I dialed the number but did not get a dial tone, nor did the telephone ring on the other end. I then texted the number instead and typed: “This is Shaleco (the boy’s name). I am fine and am just west of Wadena, SK.  I just met another traveller who has given me water and energy bars.  All is well.” As we parted, ways, I asked where Shaleco was headed.  He said “Alberta”. I said: “That’s interesting, I’m headed for Manitoba.” A few minutes later, I dialed the number again and actually spoke with Shaleco’s mom.  I told her what happened and where I had last seen her son.  She informed me that she had the RCMP looking for him. Then, as I was just about to finish the conversation, she said: “You spelled his name wrong.”

Many Thanks to:

1. The hundreds of people who have sponsored me so far.  I am over my 10 and then 15000 dollar goal.  Thank you so much!

2.  My event sponsors: Knight Nissan, Bickner Trucking, Sterling Truck and Trailer, Hornoi Leasing, Full Line Ag, The Village of Vanguard, Steelview Oilfield Services, and Speedy Creek Signs.  My plan was to backpack across this province on my own.  It was not a good a good plan.  Best case scenario is I would have failed, worst case is I would have died.  These sponsors have ensured that I have a pace vehicle to keep me safe on the road, coaching to keep my body going, and rest at night and nutrition along the way. Thanks!

By the way, our pace vehicle is a Nissan Rouge.  It is very comfortable, handles well, and is overall a very nice vehicle to drive (just ask Val).  Here are the specs in case you are interested in checking one out. 

3.  John Bickner at Bickner Trucking.  He made the above sponsorship (and this campaign) possible.

4.  My pace drivers Seth, Jessalyn and my wife Valerie.  You can imagine that walking across the province at 5km per hour is boring.  Driving a vehicle at that speed isn’t any better.

5.  People that have walked with me; Dan, Jessalyn, Gordon, Amber, Brittney, Laurie, Janet and Lorne, Betty, Loyd, Brian, Carrie, Kassie, Wendy, and Alvina.  It does pass the time having people to walk with.

Scenes From Saskatchewan:

Here is a link to some pictures that I have taken along the way.

Playlist:

I haven’t been able to listen to as much music on the road as I would have liked.  There is just too much traffic.  In addition, after we had the Facebook block on our live feed because Val was playing XM radio, I thought if my pace car driver can’t have music then I can’t either.

Here is one of my favourite songs from my absolute favourite band growing up.

Fight the Good Fight – Triumph

Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Triumph was a power rock trio in the mid 1970s and 1980s.  They were my favourite band, and I must have listened to their records a million times. In fact, growing up, I wanted to be one of two guys, Rik Emmett of Triumph or Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This is Rik Emmett, one of my two boyhood heros.  His skills on the guitar are like no other. Originally, I wanted to name my first son, “Rik Emmett Shwaga.” It was decided.  There was no other option.  That is until the time of birth when my wife informed me “His name will be Seth.”

Image result for rik emmett

 

My other boyhood hero was Darryl Sittler.  He was the captain and best hockey player on my favourite team the Toronto Maple leafs.  Sometimes when the game would end on Saturday night, I could hardly bear the thought that I would have to wait a whole week to see Darryl Sittler and the Leafs again. Even then, often you would wait an entire week only to find out CBC was airing the Montreal Canadiens or Vancouver Canucks  game.  That was unbearable!

Image result for darryl sittler

Until this day, when I am at a teacher’s conference or convention or any place where people don’t know who I am and we are required to have name tags, I will put Rik Emmett or Darryl Sittler on my tag and just pretend to be them all day long. They are still my boyhood heroes.

Links:

Here is a link to my fundraising page. 

Please also check out the Huntington Society of Canada’s website.  It has a ton of information and articles.

Follow me on Twitter @gshwaga – Please like or retweet if you can. It gets my message to more people that way.

Follow me on Facebook: Greg Shwaga or my event page @GregsHDwalkSK

Follow me here at www.igslearn.com

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Packing!

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.

We produce a lot of hockey players too!

What is Huntington Disease(7)?

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.

Here is a video that explains Juvenile HD:

Featured Town:

Wilkie SK

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.

Training Update:

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:

20170704_210659

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!

Links:

Here is a link to my fundraising page. 

Please also check out the Huntington Society of Canada’s website.  It has a ton of information and articles.

Follow me on Twitter @gshwaga – Please like or retweet if you can. It gets my message to more people that way.

Follow me on Facebook: Greg Shwaga or my event page @GregsHDwalkSK

Follow me here at www.igslearn.com