Winnipeg man running across Canada in support of cancer research

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A man from Winnipeg is running across Canada in an effort to raise money for cancer research.

With just a tent, sleeping bag, and the crisp Newfoundland air in his lungs, Jackson Charron-Okerlund, began fulfilling his long-time goal on March 6.

“I am going on foot from the East Coast of Canada, started in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at the Terry Fox monument — mile zero — and I’m making my way across the country to B.C.,” he said.

Charron-Okerlund says he has always admired Terry Fox and his legacy.

“His story gave me the strength and the hope to build myself up to this point and do something like this, so now I just wanted to honor him in a way where I could just show him what he made Canadians believe they could do.”

Over the last four years, he has been training his body to trek long distances.

“I put in about between 20 to 40 kilometers a day on my legs, and then I would hit the weights in the gym — so squats, calf raises, and then also building up my upper body — because I’d know when I’m out here I’d be dwindling away,” he said.

Throughout the time he trained, Charron-Okerlund worked in a long-term care home.

He says it was through his job that he realized he wanted to make a greater impact.

“When I worked in the care home, I only got to do and give back to about 50 people and I guess taking on this cause I could help out, try and make a difference in a bigger scale.”

Once his training was complete, Charron-Okerlund packed his things and made his way to Newfoundland.

From there, he created an online fundraiser with a goal to raise $50,000.

Charron-Okerlund is travelling 7,000 kilometers in total — his goal is to cover that within 120 to 140 days.

He says he has received a lot of support since beginning his journey.

“People hunting me down on the Trans-Canada Highway to give cash donations and each and every one of those people have a story to share about cancer, how they’ve been affected in their lives, so now every single step I take is for those people and those families.”

Thursday was day 18 on Charron-Okerlund’s journey.

He hopes to make it to Port aux Basques, N.L., by Friday night.

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