Howie English and his wife were devastated the night his youngest daughter Rebecca was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome.
They were also told that Rebecca, now four years old, would likely not live past her teenage years due to a heart problem related to the condition.
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that is caused when a fetus ends up with three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two.
This can affect one in every 700 to 900 children and can lead to health problems, developmental delays and learning disabilities.
Although they initially feared their daughter’s short life would be segregated and limited, English and his wife vowed to make every day with their daughter meaningful and special.
So, on March 20, English will be leaving the comforts of home and walking from Pitt Meadows to Whistler in honour of his daughter.
The 167-kilometre journey will take English around 31 hours to complete, finishing the walk at Meadowtown Centre on March 21, World Down Syndrome Day.
English got the idea after he completed a walk to Horseshoe Bay from Pitt Meadows on July 10 of last year to raise money for stores in downtown Vancouver that were effected by the riots.
“I thought this is a great cause, but I want to help Rebecca,” said English. “I wanted to do something closer to my heart.”
So English chose to walk to Whistler.
He has already driven the distance to plan out his route.
“I thought it’s a far walk, but there’s nothing you can’t do,” he said.
His goal is to raise $100 for every kilometer that he walks, or $16,700.
English is touched by the interest taken so far in his walk.
“It doesn’t matter what a child is like or what special needs they have,” said English. “All children have their own special needs. Rebecca’s needs are just different needs.”
All proceeds will go to the Down Syndrome Research Foundation based in Burnaby, and the Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society.
• To make a donation to the Down Syndrome Sky Walk go to www.DSRF.org.