Shelbourne residents may note an uptick in the number of people walking in the Victoria neighbourhood as seniors from Parkwood Place by Revera tackle a Terry Fox Foundation challenge.
Parkwood is one of nine sites across the nation participating in a Revera initiative to encourage seniors to get moving during Active Aging Week, which took place Oct. 3 to 9, explained Cheryl Chalifour, the executive director for the Victoria.
The group, inspired by the memory of Terry Fox, plans to walk the equivalent of the distance between the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay, Ont. and the Terry Fox Monument at Mile Zero in Victoria – about 3,134 – by Oct. 31.
At the first weekly check-in on Oct. 6, the local site went about 600 kilometres with 20 residents and 10 staff actively tracking steps.
Resident Linda Rintoul started walking about six or eight months ago, taking 30 to 40 minutes a day on the advice of her doctor and the old adage “use it or lose it.”
With the campaign, she’s seen an uptick in walkers in the neighbourhood.
“I’m really proud of everybody that’s participating. I think it’s helping a lot of people mentally as well,” Rintoul said. “I would really like to see a lot more people get out there and walk. It’s not easy to get started and it’s not easy to keep going.”
The only weather that holds her back is the slippery season – if the walkways are snowy or icy. Now walking up to two hours a day, she takes different routes through her neighbourhood near the Saanich border.
“The neighbourhoods, some of them are fantastic, you don’t really see a neighbourhood until you walk it,” she said.
Chuck Naylor prefers a little in-house workout then heads to the breakwater at Ogden Point for his daily dose of walking. Many moons ago Naylor substituted exercise for smoking and drinking, a win all around for himself and his family, he said. “It becomes a lifestyle.”
The goal of the program is to both get steps up and inspire others to get active while raising money and awareness for the Terry Fox Foundation.
“Terry Fox has been my hero for so darn long it’s scary,” Naylor said. “That kid showed more guts and fortitude than any man I know.”
Fox was a Coquitlam teen who had his leg amputated because of cancer at 18 and embarked on the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope in 1980, with the goal of crossing Canada. He ran an average 42 kilometres (the length of a marathon), every day for 143 days until the run came to an early end on Sept. 1, 1980, as the cancer had spread to his lungs.
By Feb. 1, 1981, his goal of raising $1 for every Canadian was realized when the fund hit $24.17 million. Fox died that June.
Visit terryfox.org to learn more about the Terry Fox Foundation and how to give.