Debby Baker has gone the distance – walking the full 671 km between Ladysmith and the Dalles, Oregon, all without leaving Vancouver Island.
Baker embarked on her journey on July 10 with the intention of raising funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Alzheimer’s and the Golden Eagle fund. As of October 20, Baker’s walk raised $5,000 to be split evenly between the charities. Donations remain open until October 31.
Each of the charities is sending a proposal to the Ladysmith Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary #2101 outlining what the money will be used for. They are in the process of finalizing their projects. Once the projects are finalized, donors will be able to see exactly what their donations are going towards.
Whether rain, shine, or smoke, Baker took to 67 walks and trails across Vancouver Island to reach her goal. Baker filmed each of the walks and posted them to the Eagles Facebook page.
“I hadn’t been to about half of them. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t made the effort to see what we have here,” she said.
A core component of her walk was to maintain social distancing and adhere to public health advice while pulling off a successful fundraiser. Baker said that the walks and trails were ideal for social distancing – only one of the walks was more crowded than she felt comfortable with.
“Some of them I walked more kilometres than I saw people. At the Holt trestle for example I did 10km and I saw two people.”
Baker’s final distance was travelled down 1st Avenue in Ladysmith. She was treated to a hero’s welcome – escorted by the RCMP – and cheered on by a socially distanced group of about 30 people as she strode toward the steps of Eagles Hall.
“I appreciate so much the support of the community,” she said.