Former Islander laces up for charity run across Canada

Rick Fall is raising money for Childhood Cancer and Make-a-Wish

Former Duncan resident Rick Fall is running from Vancouver Island to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. to raise money for two charities. (Submitted)

Former Duncan resident Rick Fall is running from Vancouver Island to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. to raise money for two charities. (Submitted)

A former Cowichan Valley man will be passing through town later this month as part of a fundraising run across much of Canada.

Rick Fall, who grew up in Duncan but has lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., for the last 32 years, is running from Mile 0 in Victoria to his current home to raise money for Make-A-Wish Canada and Childhood Cancer Canada, with the goal of collecting $300,000 along the way.

The total distance will be around 4,200 km or 100 marathons, averaging 42 km a day. Fall will be accompanied by his wife, Colette, in a van. The event was supposed to start in April 2020, but was postponed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will still be restrictions this year, with limited gatherings and events associated with the run, including social distancing, wearing face masks when required, and keeping isolated in the RV when necessary.

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Fall, who was involved with his local Terry Fox Run for many years, was inspired by Fox, and by people he has run alongside in Sault Ste. Marie who were going through town on their own fundraisers.

“I should be able to do something like that,” he remembers thinking.

Fall ran his first marathon in Vancouver in 1981. He didn’t run another full marathon until 2010, but he did run several half marathons in between. He has now run 14 marathons altogether, including Chicago, Boston, New York and Berlin, four of the six world majors. Tokyo and London are on his bucket list.

When he hits the road this month, he plans to try to average 42 km a day over 100 running days from Victoria to Sault Ste. Marie.

Fall doesn’t have direct connections to either of the charities he is supporting, although he lost his mother to cancer in 2013, and a niece from Duncan had a wish granted several years ago.

According to Childhood Cancer Canada, cancer is the No. 1 cause of death by disease in Canadian children, and there are more than 10,000 kids in Canada in treatment right now. Childhood Cancer Canada is the primary charitable funding partner of clinical trials and childhood cancer research for C17 Council, comprised of Canada’s leading pediatric oncologists and hematologists.

Make-A-Wish is the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization, serving every community across Canada, by creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. It granted 1,600 wishes in 2019, but thousands of wishes were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Both organizations are in need of cash flow right now.

“They’re not dying, but they are in need of funds to get the missions done that they’re trying to do,” Fall said. “Especially during COVID, it’s so important.”

For more information, or to “follow Rick,” visit fallorick.com. Information about the charities is available at childhoodcancer.ca and makeawish.ca.

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