We had a truly amazing Day 1 on our Drive and I could not ask for a better start to our journey. We ended up traveling 573km (504.8km by car) from Victoria to Kamloops. To begin, our sweet BnB host in Victoria gave us a great recommendation to eat at a nearby cafe which was where we enjoyed delicious BLT sandwiches for breakfast.
We then visited Mile ‘0’, the official starting point of our Drive, and posed with the inspirational Terry Fox. To commemorate the start, we filled two jars with sand which will later be scattered in St. John’s at the end of the trip.
Moving along, our next stop was Downtown Victoria where we enjoyed some of the very best landmarks in British Columbia; The Legislative Assembly of BC, Victoria Harbour, and the Fairmont Empress. Afterwards, we passed through Nanaimo and caught the Departure Bay ferry to Horseshoe Bay on our way to the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver.
Little did I know, what an incredible surprise kick off party awaited us! I was so touched to meet Brooke’s mother, Rochelle, for the first time and she had some very kind words to say. Admittedly, I was trying to hold back the tears! Thank you so much Rochelle for your support! For those of you who don’t know, Brooke was a friend of mine who sadly passed away a couple of years ago. She was such a positive person with a huge heart. Brooke believed in something greater than herself which propelled her to devote time as an advocate for childhood cancer research, despite having to go through her own cancer battle, because that’s how much she cared about others. Brooke was a huge inspiration to many people and she would want everyone to go out and “live your dash”. I am now living mine because of her.
Thank you to the families, volunteers, and friends of the House who took time out of their day to greet us. It was a privilege connecting with you and it feels great to be surrounded by such good people. Also, much appreciation to the kids who made the banner for us!
It was also sweet to see my lovely fiancée and parents in attendance. Thank you all for being there.
Last but not least, a very big THANK YOU to Shonna and Shannon for all their work to date and for organizing the kick off party. So much has been going on in the background and many thanks has to go to Shonna for making this journey even possible for us. It has been a pleasure collaborating with you both.
(Left to right: Shannon, Alex, Rochelle, Shonna)
Our final visit for the day was to the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Surrey Memorial Hospital where we were greeted by the super friendly Manbit. She took us for a tour of the Family Room and I was impressed by how it feels like a home away from home, but in a hospital.
Later on we met two incredible volunteers, Jasmine and Tisha, who both have a passion for helping others. They both have been best of friends since grade 2 and despite being busy with post-secondary school, they decided to volunteer for Ronald McDonald House, not just for experience, but to be together and stay in touch. What a terrific win-win-win outcome.
Next stops are Revelstoke, Lake Louise, Banff, and the Ronald McDonald House in Calgary.