Dwayne Buckle stops for a group picture with PHFR on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Dwayne Buckle stops for a group picture with PHFR on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

VIDEO: Icy plunge marks end of Red Deer firefighter’s trek across B.C. for cancer

Dwayne Buckle completes 12-week march from Red Deer to Port Hardy

A journey that started in Alberta nearly three months ago came to an end on the tip of northern Vancouver Island this weekend with a leap into the cold depths of the ocean.

Dwayne Buckle is a firefighter who walked from Red Deer, across the Rockies, through the Kootenays, into the Lower Mainland, and all the way up Vancouver Island to Port Hardy to raise funds for cancer.

RELATED: Dwayne Buckle is in Golden, making his way to Vancouver Island

Buckle set out from Red Deer on Oct. 21, stating the reason behind the hike was that he had three family members who had passed away from cancer: “my grandfather, my auntie, and my cousin.”

After coming up with the idea that he was going to ‘hike for the cure,’ it only took him five days to actually hit the road after making up his mind.

“I’d been sitting back thinking about how my family pushed me and never gave up and made me fight for everything I wanted,” he said, noting it was actually his aunt who was really instrumental in helping him achieve his goals in life, and this was how he wanted to honour his family.

The hike from Red Deer to B.C.’s Lower Mainland featured one of the toughest parts of the journey, Rogers Pass — a dangerous crossing in the Selkirk Mountains east of Revelstoke. This was the only part of the journey he had a support vehicle with him, Buckle said that was due to his friends not wanting him “to get stuck in the snow tunnels or the crazy weather conditions at the top.”

After catching the ferry to Vancouver Island, Buckle started the final part of his 1,500 km trek. He said it was “eventful, very physical, with lots of beautiful scenery along the way, and of course there were some big challenges like weather, traffic, and road conditions.”

“As I started coming up-Island, I met so many amazing people who were very kind and helped me get to the end.”

Buckle even had a run-in with a cougar during the hike. He reached for his phone instead of his knife, “but by the time I got my phone out it was already in the bush again,” he laughed.

After travelling with fire crews following him through Sayward, Woss, and Port McNeill, he woke up on the morning of Jan. 10 ready to finish his journey.

“It was like every other morning, but I was stoked, I knew this was the end and I was ready to push,” he said.

Due to extremely rainy weather conditions, his gear bag, which normally weighs 45 pounds, swelled to about 50 pounds, but that didn’t stop Buckle as he kept moving through the storm.

Port Hardy Fire Rescue met him at the ‘Welcome to Port Hardy’ sign, and from there they walked with him into town.

As he came around the bend at the top of the hill overlooking Carrot Park, he saw the ocean waiting for him at the bottom of the hill.

The only thing going through Buckle’s head at that moment was “I came this far, let’s get it done.”

He walked down the hill right into Carrot Park, and then kept going straight to the ocean and dove in. He then dove in a second time.

Why the second dive, you might be wondering?

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with people dealing with cancer and they said in the cancer unit they have a bell for the last treatment of chemo, and a few followers asked me to jump in the ocean for a second time, so that’s what the second leap was for,” he explained.

Above all else he wanted to acknowledge his aunt Sharon Ancelet, his cousin Lyle Ancelet, his grandfather Victor Carpenado, “and anybody else out there who’s dealing with cancer or suffering from it, this was all in support of them as well.”

After 82 days on the road, he added he’s feeling sore, and that it will take “about a month to get my feet adjusted and my bones back to normal.”

With only a few rest days in Port Hardy, he will heal up and then head back to Red Deer.

“I’ve got a lot of people asking, ‘oh are you hiking it’ and I’m like ‘no no, I’m busing it this time,’” he laughed.

Buckle’s fundraising goal is $2,500, which he estimates he will definitely be hitting before he leaves Port Hardy to go back home.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cancerfundraiser

 

After jumping in the ocean, Dwayne Buckle was given donations from various people, including Weston Ireton (right) and his brother Beckett. Weston is now cancer free after a two-year battle with leukemia. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

After jumping in the ocean, Dwayne Buckle was given donations from various people, including Weston Ireton (right) and his brother Beckett. Weston is now cancer free after a two-year battle with leukemia. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Just Posted

Police are investigating after a man was killed at a home on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police investigating early-morning murder in Duncan

One arrested after man killed at Cowichan Lake Road home

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

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in fatal Chemainus hit-and-run

Investigation expected to be lengthy and involved

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

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’

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Public to avoid the wooded areas around Queneesh Elementary

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre has reopened with 45 shelter spots for people experiencing homelessness in Victoria. (Courtesy of Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre)
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre shelter in Victoria reopens with spots for 45 people

Arena is an interim step until long-term housing is found

Visitors relax at the natural hot springs located within Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. (tofinohiking.com photo)
Maquinna Marine Provincial Park boardwalk project on track

“The walk down the two-kilometre boardwalk to the springs itself is by far one of the most incredible experiences.”

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

Most Read