'I’ll make it': 94-year-old Sask. man goes the distance for children’s hospitals
SASKATOON -- A Saskatchewan man is going the distance to help sick kids in the province.
Frank Atchison, 94, started his journey walking from Saskatoon to Regina Thursday morning.
Atchison is making the trek to raise money for the Jim Pattinson Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Montreal.
“When you donate, you’re really donating to something that’s really worthwhile. We got to look after our children. They can’t look after themselves,” he said.
Atchison said his involvement with the Saskatoon Shriners, a social group dedicated to providing care for children and families in need, for the last 50 years is what inspired him to walk for this cause.
He said he plans on walking about five kilometres a day and will be stopping at towns along Highway 11 to raise awareness about what the hospitals do.
Atchison said he chose to walk to Regina because he was born and raised there.
“My roots are really in the Regina area, so I’m sort of going home.”
Atchison said he has been training by walking 16 kilometres in his hallway every day but said it’ll be a challenge facing the hill near Blackstrap and the Lumsden Hill.
“Those are going to be the torturous things for me, those two hills ... but I’ll make it.”
Atchison said he’s up for the challenge, especially since it’s for a good cause.
“I’m looking forward to see how much money we can really raise for these hospitals,” he said
Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, said she is extremely grateful to be involved in the Where’s Frank? fundraiser.
“The journey from Saskatoon to Regina shows that there’s a provincial appetite to get people involved from all across the province and Frank, his enthusiasm reminds me so much of the strength and enthusiasm we see at children’s hospitals across the country. The kids are resilient, they’re dedicated, they’re committed to getting well, they give hope, they inspire, and that’s exactly the same as what Frank is doing today,” she said.
Boback-Lane said people can donate to the cause on the Jim Pattinson Children’s Hospital website. The funds will help support the most urgent needs within that hospital and the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
She said this initiative is extremely important, especially during a time like this.
“Healthcare for children is a 365 responsibility. COVID or anything else does not disrupt when a child needs to go for a chemo treatment, or go to a clinic and get checked out. It’s very important to understand that it’s a day-to-day need and those needs are ongoing,” Boback-Lane said.
Atchison said he will drive home each night until he gets to Davidson, then from there, he will likely stay at motels along the way.
He plans on reaching Regina by June 15 - his 95th birthday.
Atchison will end his journey on the steps of the Saskatchewan Legislature where he will receive this 50 year Shriners service pin.