Campus to Campus Fundraising Walk

$10,086 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 130 people in 5 months
Hi folks.

On Wednesday of this week, I will set out on an ambitious six-day 330 kilometre trek in an effort to raise money for Okanagan College Salmon Arm student Gary Baker, who suffered a massive brain aneurism last year while playing soccer in Kelowna and who is currently struggling to recover in Vancouver General Hospital, where he has undergone nine major surgeries and innumerable other treatments for the past year, and where he remains in critical condition.

His recovery could take many more months or possily even years, which places a huge financial strain on the Bakers in addition to their more pressing concerns about Gary's health. I've known Gary and his family - many of whom are, or have been, OC students - for several years now. They are exceptional folks, and ever since I heard about the accident I have been moved by a deep sense of compassion and solidarity to want to do something to help make their lives a little easier while they deal with this tragedy. I was also inspired by the unbelievable support the Bakers received when I attempted something shorter last summer.

Last year, I walked from the Penticton campus to Kelowna, then Vernon, then Salmon Arm in three days. With the help of hundreds of amazing community members we were collectively able to raise almost $14,000 for the Bakers. This year, in the hopes of exceeding that target, I've raised the degree of difficulty, and am going to attempt to double that distance. I'm leaving the  Salmon Arm campus on Wednesday August 30th and will walk to Penticton and back to Salmon Arm, stopping at each OC campus along the way, and hopefully crawling back to my home campus on Monday September 4th.  

Although I love to hike, this will be the furthest I have ever walked, and by by some measure: I will average 55 kilometres per day and I will try very hard indeed to do that for six days in a row. As was the case last year, I will be posting photographs of my progress every few hours on the "Campus to Campus Fundraising Walk" Facebook page so sponsors and supporters can send messages and follow along the way.

My goal this year is to raise $15,000 or more. Every dollar of sponsorship that you provide will go directly to the Baker family to help them cover their daily living expenses while they help Gary fight his way back to good health.

My experience has always been that my friends, my family and my colleagues in the Okanagan College community and the region we serve are generous and understand that we are obliged to help those who need our help if we are able to do so. I hope you will consider sponsoring me, or sponsoring me again, so that together we can do something to help this young family in their time of great need.   

In solidarity!
Cheers,

Tim Walters
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My friends!

First of all, my apologies for the radio silence for the past few days. This walk took a lot more out of me than I thought it would or even could, and aside from a few incursions over to the college and to get food I’ve basically spent the last two days sleeping and eating and not doing much else other than recovering. My feet are still pretty badly swollen, my legs are still far from right, and I’ve got some impressively sized blisters, but I’m back in action today for the first time since I finished, and wanted to say a few things to those of you who were following along.

Mostly, I want to say thank you. This walk was a lot harder than I thought: in retrospect, I actually don’t have a clue why I even thought I could do it in the first place, other than that I’m a bit simple and so believed that if I could do something once then I could probably it twice? The doubled distance made it harder, the lack of recovery time made it harder, my funky knee made it a lot harder, and the heat and smoke made it harder. I do a fair bit of long distance hiking and this was the most physically difficult thing I’ve ever done, and by a wide margin: for long stretches of the last few days, every single step hurt and I felt shaky and utterly exhausted and weepy and alarmingly near the end of my rope.

But this is also true: weirdly, I never contemplated stopping. A few times I worried that I might not be able to finish because I thought my knee was going to give, but actually choosing to not keep walking never crossed my mind once, and that has everything to do with all of you. As was the case last year, this was a team effort from before the start to after the finish. I was the beneficiary of infinite kindnesses from my friends and family and colleagues and from strangers and good people everywhere. At all hours of the day and night, these amazing people drove me around, fed me, brought me drinks and tended to me along the way, walked with me for hours and days, put me up in their homes, washed my clothes, cheered me up and distracted me, sent me text and facebook messages, called me to wish me well, and in countless other ways took time out of their busy and complicated lives to offer themselves up to help, and it is a fact that I could not have done even a bit of this without the lot of them. From the three fire departments and RCMP officer who escorted me out of town to my three friends who met me in the middle of the night to see that I got back home, and to everyone in between: you know who you are, and I’m honestly floored with gratitude to you all, and feeling incredibly lucky to get to be in your company. (An aside: if you want to really know who your friends are and what the character of the community you belong to is, do something desperately stupid for a really good cause.)

The point of this whole thing, of course, was not to see if I could walk all that way, but to see if my doing that could help redistribute a chunk of money from the pockets of members of our communities to the Baker family, who surely need it at the moment. Thus far, including the cash and cheque donations that are still coming in to the college, we have collectively raised just over $10,000, which is brilliant, and it’ll still be possible to donate through the gofundme page and at the Salmon Arm OC campus until the end of next week, so that amount might go even higher yet. Again, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to all of you who helped out by donating or by taking time to help spread the word so that others would contribute: I know some of you don’t have much to spare, but every cent you parted with will go to help make a struggling family’s everyday life easier, and you can’t do much better than that, can you?

Last thing, and my apologies for banging on so much. I’ve said that I was only able to do this because of all of the kindness and support I received from all of you, which is absolutely true. It’s also true that I could only do it because I knew why I was doing it, and for who, and I knew that it was worth doing. On the first day, when my firefighter escort was leaving me in Armstrong, the driver of the Deep Creek Fire Department truck told me before he drove away that it was a good thing that I was doing, and that I should remember why I was doing it. And so I tried to do that. Six days later when I was walking along the home stretch, I still had that notion bouncing around in my head. Those of you who were following along on facebook might have figured out that this was the hardest of many hard stretches. I had walked until after 3am the day before, I was by this point completely exhausted, it was blazing hot and I was sweating so much I was actually starting to worry, my feet and legs were absolutely screaming with pain, I was lightheaded, and I was starting to become a little unhinged such that whenever I thought about being done walking for even a second I could/would start crying. And so what I learned from the fact that I was able to keep walking despite being a human train wreck was this: I know for sure that I couldn’t possibly have finished that walk if I wasn’t doing it for someone else, and I know that I couldn’t have finished if I wasn’t doing it with someone else. If you have that, you’re all set, and you can do a lot more than you think you can, which to me feels sort of magical and comforting and exciting.

Many sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you for everything you did to help the Bakers experience a little more comfort as they struggle to help Gary along the road to recovery, and for giving me six days that contained a lot more joy and beauty than pain.

With love and solidarity.
Cheers,
tim
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Day one route. OC Salmon Arm to OC Vernon via Deep Creek and then Otter road. 64 kilometres: piece of cake. Bonus!: Firefighter friends of Gary and the Bakers giving me some kind of early morning ride along/ send off, which should be cool. Hope I'm gonna get to wear one of those cool hats. Check out the "Campus to campus fundraising walk" page for regular updates, videos, and photos. https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Okanagan+College+-+Salmon+Arm-Revelstoke,+2552+10th+Ave+NE,+Salmon+Arm,+BC+V1E+2S4/Okanagan+College+-+Vernon+Campus,+7000+College+Way,+Coldstream,+BC+V1B+2N5/@50.7017741,-119.2287846,11.72z/data=!4m39!4m38!1m30!1m1!1s0x537ef577d502e505:0x9546487e3ebef897!2m2!1d-119.2551239!2d50.7042844!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2179242!2d50.6236338!3s0x537e8a5e02aa8713:0x2bfb46627299cc56!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2319064!2d50.5711301!3s0x537e621ece66931d:0x71b43cacf7ea7e1e!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2170889!2d50.4601749!3s0x537e7c9c9e9bdceb:0x364c178f883da69d!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2161253!2d50.4439606!3s0x537e7b8173091b5b:0xeed549c0c3f07e3f!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2591045!2d50.4038333!3s0x537e7a3ca8e8be3b:0xe0d63824b327d129!1m5!1m1!1s0x537dd8c2cde4141d:0xe75ba8d4081a9f0b!2m2!1d-119.282088!2d50.235037!3e2
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https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Okanagan+College+-+Salmon+Arm-Revelstoke,+2552+10th+Ave+NE,+Salmon+Arm,+BC+V1E+2S4/Okanagan+College+-+Vernon+Campus,+7000+College+Way,+Coldstream,+BC+V1B+2N5/@50.7017741,-119.2287846,11.72z/data=!4m39!4m38!1m30!1m1!1s0x537ef577d502e505:0x9546487e3ebef897!2m2!1d-119.2551239!2d50.7042844!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2179242!2d50.6236338!3s0x537e8a5e02aa8713:0x2bfb46627299cc56!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2319064!2d50.5711301!3s0x537e621ece66931d:0x71b43cacf7ea7e1e!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2170889!2d50.4601749!3s0x537e7c9c9e9bdceb:0x364c178f883da69d!Day one route. OC Salmon Arm to OC Vernon via Deep Creek and then Otter road. 64 kilometres: piece of cake. Bonus!: Firefighter friends of Gary and the Bakers giving me some kind of early morning ride along/ send off, which should be cool. Hope I'm gonna get to wear one of those cool hats. Check out the "Campus to campus fundraising walk" page for regular updates, videos, and photos.

3m4!1m2!1d-119.2161253!2d50.4439606!3s0x537e7b8173091b5b:0xeed549c0c3f07e3f!3m4!1m2!1d-119.2591045!2d50.4038333!3s0x537e7a3ca8e8be3b:0xe0d63824b327d129!1m5!1m1!1s0x537dd8c2cde4141d:0xe75ba8d4081a9f0b!2m2!1d-119.282088!2d50.235037!3e2
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$10,086 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 130 people in 5 months
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