Dwayne Buckle stops for a group picture with PHFR on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Dwayne Buckle stops for a group picture with PHFR on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

VIDEO: Icy plunge marks end of Red Deer firefighter’s trek across B.C. for cancer

Dwayne Buckle completes 12-week march from Red Deer to Port Hardy

A journey that started in Alberta nearly three months ago came to an end on the tip of northern Vancouver Island this weekend with a leap into the cold depths of the ocean.

Dwayne Buckle is a firefighter who walked from Red Deer, across the Rockies, through the Kootenays, into the Lower Mainland, and all the way up Vancouver Island to Port Hardy to raise funds for cancer.

RELATED: Dwayne Buckle is in Golden, making his way to Vancouver Island

Buckle set out from Red Deer on Oct. 21, stating the reason behind the hike was that he had three family members who had passed away from cancer: “my grandfather, my auntie, and my cousin.”

After coming up with the idea that he was going to ‘hike for the cure,’ it only took him five days to actually hit the road after making up his mind.

“I’d been sitting back thinking about how my family pushed me and never gave up and made me fight for everything I wanted,” he said, noting it was actually his aunt who was really instrumental in helping him achieve his goals in life, and this was how he wanted to honour his family.

The hike from Red Deer to B.C.’s Lower Mainland featured one of the toughest parts of the journey, Rogers Pass — a dangerous crossing in the Selkirk Mountains east of Revelstoke. This was the only part of the journey he had a support vehicle with him, Buckle said that was due to his friends not wanting him “to get stuck in the snow tunnels or the crazy weather conditions at the top.”

After catching the ferry to Vancouver Island, Buckle started the final part of his 1,500 km trek. He said it was “eventful, very physical, with lots of beautiful scenery along the way, and of course there were some big challenges like weather, traffic, and road conditions.”

“As I started coming up-Island, I met so many amazing people who were very kind and helped me get to the end.”

Buckle even had a run-in with a cougar during the hike. He reached for his phone instead of his knife, “but by the time I got my phone out it was already in the bush again,” he laughed.

After travelling with fire crews following him through Sayward, Woss, and Port McNeill, he woke up on the morning of Jan. 10 ready to finish his journey.

“It was like every other morning, but I was stoked, I knew this was the end and I was ready to push,” he said.

Due to extremely rainy weather conditions, his gear bag, which normally weighs 45 pounds, swelled to about 50 pounds, but that didn’t stop Buckle as he kept moving through the storm.

Port Hardy Fire Rescue met him at the ‘Welcome to Port Hardy’ sign, and from there they walked with him into town.

As he came around the bend at the top of the hill overlooking Carrot Park, he saw the ocean waiting for him at the bottom of the hill.

The only thing going through Buckle’s head at that moment was “I came this far, let’s get it done.”

He walked down the hill right into Carrot Park, and then kept going straight to the ocean and dove in. He then dove in a second time.

Why the second dive, you might be wondering?

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with people dealing with cancer and they said in the cancer unit they have a bell for the last treatment of chemo, and a few followers asked me to jump in the ocean for a second time, so that’s what the second leap was for,” he explained.

Above all else he wanted to acknowledge his aunt Sharon Ancelet, his cousin Lyle Ancelet, his grandfather Victor Carpenado, “and anybody else out there who’s dealing with cancer or suffering from it, this was all in support of them as well.”

After 82 days on the road, he added he’s feeling sore, and that it will take “about a month to get my feet adjusted and my bones back to normal.”

With only a few rest days in Port Hardy, he will heal up and then head back to Red Deer.

“I’ve got a lot of people asking, ‘oh are you hiking it’ and I’m like ‘no no, I’m busing it this time,’” he laughed.

Buckle’s fundraising goal is $2,500, which he estimates he will definitely be hitting before he leaves Port Hardy to go back home.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cancerfundraiser

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

After jumping in the ocean, Dwayne Buckle was given donations from various people, including Weston Ireton (right) and his brother Beckett. Weston is now cancer free after a two-year battle with leukemia. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

After jumping in the ocean, Dwayne Buckle was given donations from various people, including Weston Ireton (right) and his brother Beckett. Weston is now cancer free after a two-year battle with leukemia. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Just Posted

The Port Alice Royal Canadian Legion building. (Port Alice Royal Canadian Legion Facebook photo)
Four local Legions nab federal support money

The Royal Canadian Legion received $14 million for disbursement to branches across Canada

The barge sank again on Jan. 8 and is still resting under water. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
UPDATE: Barge will stay under water in Port McNeill marina until February

The sunken barge was reported to Environment Canada.

Mount Cain
Mount Cain cancels ‘Cain Cup’ due to COVID-19 restrictions

‘It is unfortunate that we had to make this decision’

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring has expressed his frustration with harassment of people who have made racist comments online about Cowichan Tribes in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak in the First Nation. (Citizen file)
Island mayor calls for de-escalation as social media gets uglier in racism fight

“Racism is wrong. But so is this kind of reaction”:

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Most Read