Gary and Tracey walked from the Saskatchewan border to the BC border to raise money and awareness for Chrohns and Colitis Canada. (Submitted/ Gary Mason)

Two Wetaskiwin locals walk 376 km for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

Gary Mason and Tracey Paluck walked from the Saskatchewan border all the way to the B.C. border.

Gary Mason and Tracey Paluck recently completed a massive feat in the name of fundraising and awareness. The Wetaskiwin locals laced up and walked from the Saskatchewan border to the B.C. border, a total of 376 km, over 11 days to fundraise for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada—a cause very important to both Paluck and Mason.

Mason was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 25-years-old and has been living with it ever since. Paluck herself has Ulcerative Colitis, a difficult diagnose to manage in addition to her other undiagnosed auto-immune issues, but that didn’t stop her from jumping at the chance to join Mason on the fundraising walk.

“I was like, yah, count me in!” Paluck says about when Mason connected with her and asked if she would join him on the walk. Although she was worried about completing the walk while battling her additional health issues, she wanted to show her kids that if they want to, they can do anything.

“Whatever life and health allow, I’m up for it,” says Paluck. “I wanted to be able to claim I’ve done something slightly bigger than average.”

Mason said that when he came up with the plan for the long walk he was excited to prove that his disease doesn’t hold him back. “It’s not a death sentence. You can still have Crohn’s or Colitis and do extraordinary things,” says Mason.

When Mason first reached out to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada they were thrilled to hear of his plan and asked if they would walk in conjunction with the Gutsy Walk, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s annual fundraising walk. This year due to the pandemic, the Gutsy Walk would be a virtual event.

On Aug. 26, 2020, Mason and Paluck started their walk just east of Medicine Hat at the Saskatchewan border, with plans to continue along the side of Highway 3 to their destination.

Mason says that the behind the scenes support was monumental to their success, both physically and mentally. With initial plans to camp along the route at night, Mason and Paluck received benefactor assistance who paid for them to stay in hotels and have support drivers with pick up and drop off.

Mason says that during their walk they had many people who stopped to offer help to them, and then would donate when they realized they were walking intentionally. One family even stopped to offer the walkers candy to lift their spirits.

Despite the support, it wasn’t always easy going. Mason says that for him the mental challenge was the biggest hurdle. Their first day of walking they had to re-evaluate their pace and pick it up the rest of the walk to ensure they met their timeline.

Mason said the repetitiveness was part of this challenge, as the duo would walk an average of 32 km a day, and according to him the landscape of the Alberta prairies don’t change that much.

Paluck herself was facing a difficult challenge during the walk. In addition to her arthritis, she was struggling with circulation in her hands and feet because of her autoimmune issues, causing quite a bit of her walk to be very painful.

On day nine Paluck walked almost 15 km with only one shoe on because her one foot was so swollen her shoe would no longer fit.

When the duo reached the B.C. border on Sept.7, 2020, they kept moving forward until they officially reached the “Welcome to British Columbia” sign.

“We gave everything, every day,” says Mason.

In total Mason and Paluck managed to raise $10, 000 for Gutsy Walk, 100 per cent of said proceeds going to research for Crohn’s and Colitis.

“I have a new found respect for others that walk,” says Paluck. “I was elated that we had taken on such a huge endeavour and we both made it.”

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

 

Gary and Tracey walked from the Saskatchewan border to the BC border to raise money and awareness for Chrohns and Colitis Canada. (Submitted/ Gary Mason)

Gary and Tracey walked from the Saskatchewan border to the BC border to raise money and awareness for Chrohns and Colitis Canada. (Submitted/ Gary Mason)

Gary and Tracey walked from the Saskatchewan border to the BC border to raise money and awareness for Chrohns and Colitis Canada. (Submitted/ Gary Mason)

Just Posted

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin cases rapidly climbing

City of Wetaskiwin reporting 11 active cases of COVID-19

Photo submitted/ Rita-anne Fuss
Distancing Diamond Project in Millet for mental health

Distancing Diamonds allow for social distancing community gathering.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s official Opposition, speaks in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Notley says the government needs to sharply ramp up the number of contact tracers if it wants to get a handle on the rising number of COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Opposition calls for more COVID-19 contact tracers as case numbers rise

Alberta has about 800 tracers, and chief medical health officer Dr. Hinshaw says more are being recruited

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Hospital and health-care workers who staged a one-day illegal walkout returned to work Tuesday while politicians swapped recriminations and accusations in the house over the dispute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta health staff return to work, surgeries resume after one-day walkout

AHS estimated 157 non-emergency surgeries, most of them in Edmonton, had to be postponed as a result of the walkout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Most Read