Story and photos by James Ferth
A Quebec man has decided to walk across Canada for a great cause. Benoit Lebel is from the same hometown as Jean Chretien, Shawinigan and is raising money and awareness for the Children’s Wish Foundation (childrenswish.ca).
Starting his journey March 12th from St. John’s Newfoundland, the 47 year old made his way to Brighton Sunday (July 17, 2016) and stayed at the Brighton Inn B&B located at 40 Young Street (brightoninn.com). Owners of the Brighton Inn Don and Nikki Thompson graciously put up Benoit for the night to support the man’s trek and cause.
Lebel says it was likely the only time in his life that he would have the opportunity to travel across Canada and raise money to make children’s wishes come true.
Lebel made the decision after leaving a job for five years in the retail business and working in graphic design for ten years. He says he is lucky to have the opportunity to take on the massive journey.
Three days after beginning his journey Lebel encountered minus 15 temperatures, high winds and a snow storm. He said by the time he was done erecting his tent for the night, his hands were so cold he could hardly feel them. That didn’t stop or even slow Lebel from moving on.
Benoit says he has received tremendous support from his friends and family and that “his mother is his number one fan. He’s used social networking as his main way of finding places to stay along the way and Saturday stayed with a military family in Trenton.
Benoit sets to walk between 18 and 30km a day and occasionally accepts rides from the many people who pull over to ask him what he is doing. He has a large sign attached to his backpack which says WISH WALK in bold letters and also the 7500 km he originally planned to walk. That number has gone up as Benoit had to change a few directions from his original plan and says he believes it will be more like 10,000 km by the time he reaches his destination.
He plans on ending his journey in Vancouver B.C. and has set a goal of raising $30,000 by then. So far, Benoit has raised around $5,500 and says even if he doesn’t reach his goal, every dollar counts.
You can follow Benoit Lebel on his journey across Canada through his website www.wishwalk.ca or his Facebook page www.facebook.com/wishwalk.ca. There are also links to donate to the Children’s Wish Foundation www.childrenswish.ca/wishwalk2016 to help him reach his $30,000 goal.