On July 1, James Carson will be taking the first stride of many in his quest to inline skate 2,215 kilometres across Ontario to raise awareness and funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Cancer connects and touches everyone,” says the Birchview Dunes physical education teacher. “I decided to do this because I want to promote a healthy, active lifestyle, and to raise as much awareness as possible about cancer, ways to reduce risk factors, and help people become knowledgeable about the various types of cancer as well. I also want to do this to help, motivate, and change as many people’s lives as I can for the better, and hopefully inspire others to do the same to help find a cure.”
Carson has a personal reason to be completing the Roll Across Ontario fundraiser. Over the last few years, several family members and friends have been diagnosed with cancer.
“They have undergone much treatment, many rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and have tried many types of medication. I know that they have been strong, both mentally and physically, and will continue to do so. My journey is in support of them, and the many others, who are suffering from cancer.”
Carson also points to a hero of his in his decision to take on such a physically demanding task: Terry Fox.
Carson will start the 52-day journey in Kenora, travelling east across the Trans-Canada Highway to Pembroke, then he will head southwest towards his final destination of Wasaga Beach on August 21 (click on the map to see the planned route). But the road to get to Kenora started months ago. Carson has been training, fundraising and recruiting sponsors over the past two years.
“Training has been a lot of work—I have on-wheel training, which has been fairly extensive, but also off-wheel training, which constitutes a variety of workouts. I try to keep things different, especially in the winter months when I can’t skate outside, to keep it interesting, fun, and motivating. As physical education teacher, I am also able to keep active at school every day. Along with the physical training, I’ve found it equally important to do mental training and to stay sharp, focused and prepared.”
The plan: travel between 50 to 60 km a day, skating in the morning and late afternoon every day, avoiding the extreme mid-day heat. Speed and distance covered will depend on several factors, including weather, pavement quality and traffic. The last 15 km will be extra special as Carson’s wife and children will be joining him, along with 15 celebrity guests, including NHL veterans Scott Thorton, Aaron Downey and Jamie Allison and current New York Ranger defenceman Kevin Klein (click here and check out Carson’s blog for details on all of his guest skaters).
The Birchview Dunes school community is rallying along with Carson with a special Roll Across Ontario event at the school on June 19.