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

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The school is very proud of these students (pictured, left to right): Halim Demir (holding Grace Valdez’ gold certificate); Lauren McIlwain, Shayleen Mack, Jaymen Schieck, Kyle Doiron, and Finn Carlson (photo submitted)
SAMS students excel in international competition

The SAMS team swept their category this year; all six participants received awards

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The avalanche came down on the highway sometime Sunday evening (Feb. 21) (Dawson photo)
Road to Bella Coola wharf reopens after large avalanche

The road was closed after a large avalanche covered a significant portion of the highway

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Most Read