Art Brochu (fifth from left) is surrounded by well-wishers as he prepares to set off on his cross-country cycling trip in support of Children’s Wish. The 70-year-old veteran aims to cycle to St. John’s

Art Brochu (fifth from left) is surrounded by well-wishers as he prepares to set off on his cross-country cycling trip in support of Children’s Wish. The 70-year-old veteran aims to cycle to St. John’s

Veteran sets off on cross-country charity cycle

Art Brochu begins a fundraising journey that will see him ride across Canada in support of Children’s Wish Foundation.

PORT HARDY—For most people retirement means relaxation; perhaps puttering in the garden or RVing.

Art Brochu is not most people.

After a lifetime of military service, the 70-year-old could be forgiven for seeking out a retiring retirement. Instead, Brochu has thrown himself wholeheartedly into his new passion — cycling — and found a way to challenge himself while helping others.

Last Thursday Brochu left Port Hardy on the first leg of a fundraising journey that will see him ride across the country to St. John’s, Newfoundland, in support of Children’s Wish Foundation.

The veteran hopes to raise $130,000 along the way to fund a wish in each of the provinces and territories. Brochu has trained with Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Lori-Anne Muenzer for the journey, which he hopes to complete in 14 weeks.

While cycling across Canada may seem like a daunting enough task for anyone, let alone a septuagenarian, Brochu has set another challenge for himself.

Along the way he will be conducting a series of presentations on the topic of health and wellbeing, and he kicked off his speaking tour Wednesday at Port Hardy Secondary School.

Brochu told students that he was troubled throughout his military career by the children he was unable to help. “I saw children suffering; their parents maybe off fighting,” he told students, “but we couldn’t help them. Sometimes it was not our mandate or there were not enough resources to help.

“I’ve always wanted, always felt guilty that I couldn’t do something for the kids.”

So, when he retired, Brochu began work with Children’s Wish. He also began working on his health and found that his new lifestyle helped ease the chronic pain his career had left him with.

Brochu urged the students to take care of themselves now by exercising and eating regular, smaller meals to regulate their metabolisms. He cautioned against fad and ‘yo-yo’ dieting, warning that there were no shortcuts to health.

“Never give up,” he told the crowd. “Be proud of yourself and who you are.”

Brochu later joined well-wishers at a send-off event at the Port Hardy Legion. The next morning, 101 Squadron and Legion members were joined by RCMP officers, Chamber representatives and civic leaders for a send-off breakfast at the Chamber of Commerce, with Brochu thanking everyone for their support before hitting the road with an emergency vehicle escort.

To learn more about Brochu’s journey, or to make a donation visit www.childrenswish.ca/ab/artcyclesforwishes.

 

Just Posted

The Port McNeill Fire Hall. (Port McNeill Fire Rescue photo)
Port McNeill Fire Rescue gets big financial boost from government

Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom was thrilled by the funding announcement

The river behind the ball field. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Pulled by the flow: river stirs up childhood memories

Gazette editor makes trek through Port Hardy wilderness to swim in the river

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read