Rick and Collette Fall take a break in the Japanese Memorial Gardens in Hope on April 20, 2021. They are heading to Ontario to raise funds for childhood cancer research. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

Rick and Collette Fall take a break in the Japanese Memorial Gardens in Hope on April 20, 2021. They are heading to Ontario to raise funds for childhood cancer research. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

B.C. athlete running 4,200 km across five provinces for a childhood cancer

Rick Fall, originally from Duncan, passed through Hope on his way to Ontario this week

A cross-country trip, in normal times, is a great way to see Canada.

A cross-country trip on foot for not one but two causes is a bit more unique.

Former Duncan resident Rick Fall passed through Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope on his run across the country, steadily making his way from his former Duncan home to his current home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. After a short rest in Harrison, he was on the road again through Hope and out to the Coquihalla, all to raise money for Make-A-Wish Canada and Childhood Cancer Canada, his eyes firmly set on a $300,000 goal.

Fall’s wife, Collette, drives a support van behind him, advertising their cause. As of publication, the couple’s efforts have raised more than $23,000 — much of which was raised last year.

Fall spoke with Black Press on Monday, April 19; Rick and Collette were on a bike ride from Harrison to Agassiz to work some different muscles and take advantage of the favourable weather.

“It’s all going really well,” Fall said. “We started out in Victoria and spent three days on the Island. We’ve had great support from family and friends.”

Fall has been involved with his local Terry Fox Run for many years and was inspired by Fox’s Herculean efforts.

“I’m not going to try to take over Terry’s legacy,” he said. “I want to cover what Terry didn’t cover, and in a different direction.”

In addition to the Terry Fox Run, Fall has run a total of 14 marathons, making appearances at the Chigaco, Boston, New York and Berlin marathons, in addition to several half-marathons. He averages about 40 kilometres a day, taking a break every 10 kilometres for the first 20 and deciding how to handle the remaining 20 day by day.

“Physically, I feel great,” he said. “The heat has not got to me, but it was definitely warm the last few days. My body hasn’t been acclimatized to the heat yet, but it’s okay.”

Fall’s motivation to raise money for children’s cancer research comes from his concern at research efforts being underfunded. As for Make-A-Wish, the foundation has a closer, personal tie.

“My niece, years ago, was granted a wish through Make-A-Wish Foundation, so I thought I would put the two causes together and give back,” Fall added. “We got approval from both foundations to do a joint venture between the two, and we’re working really well together.”

The couple originally set out to take on the 4,200-kilometre journey in April of 2020, but the pandemic pushed the event to this year. Donations have been coming in online and in person, including a chance encounter with a donor while parked in Harrison Hot Springs.

“We’re trying to get the word out to as many people as possible,” he said. “Fundraising is going great.”

Rick’s website, fallorick.com, details not only ways donors can support the ongoing run but has a live tracker on his progress, funds raised as well as some information about Rick and Collette and some pictures along the way.

-with files from Jessica Peters

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