Written by Debra Lynn
If you happened to be driving along the Frigon Road Nov. 26 between 6:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., you would have come across a lone man dressed in full firefighter bunker gear walking a few metres ahead of a slow-moving fire truck. That man was Port Alice resident Greg Beatty, who was out on a special fundraising mission on one of the wettest days of November.
Beatty, a BC Ambulance primary care paramedic and Port Alice Fire Department volunteer firefighter, as well as a father of two, was walking to raise funds for Movember, an international organization that raises money for men’s cancer awareness and treatment, cancer research and men’s mental health and suicide prevention and awareness.
Beatty stated that, “Being a male myself it’s … an interest that I have … to keep access to those mental health supports … in my line of work as paramedic and a first responder.”
Beatty started fundraising for Movember last year, taking on a small activity goal. He did 60 kilometres of walking, running and biking last year, earning $25.
This year he decided to up the ante. He engaged the support of the Port Alice Fire Department Association and, in addition to the walk, they also put on a barbeque at the fire hall and a cookie sale at the Port Alice Christmas Craft Fair. The fire department provided Beatty with a fire truck, driven by his friend Darrell Schopp, to follow him along his route from Beaver Lake to Port Alice. He also had some help from photographer, David Burnett, who drove along the route with him, taking photographs and documenting the event. Altogether, they raised $4,310, which far exceeded Beatty’s original goal of $1,000.
Beatty says the walk was tough, because “the weather was … going against me most of the way.”
They started out at Beaver Lake at 6:30 in the morning, with Beatty depending on a flashlight and the headlights of the firetruck to be able to see where he was going. He added it was, “a little bit rainy” in the morning, but “not too bad.” ‘
It wasn’t until they hit Marble River, approximately two hours into the walk, that the wind picked up and the rain “started really coming down.”
The Kevlar-lined protective equipment that he was wearing helped to keep him warm, but his clothing ended up getting completely soaked. Beatty also carried a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which is a cylinder on a harness with an attached regulator and a mask— adding an extra 40 pounds for him to carry.
He says he enjoyed it because, “I get enjoyment out of … pushing my own limits and … just doing things that I deem to be difficult…” He added, that “this is part of my personality … if it’s not challenging, I’m not really having fun.”
He says he would do it again and is looking forward to next year. He has a group of people that he is brainstorming ideas with. They may do something similar but “with a twist.”
Beatty concluded, “…I greatly appreciate everybody that came out and showed support and donated. It was way better than the $1000 that I was expecting to raise … I’m continuously blown away by that!”
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