Andy van de Wetering makes sure to get his five kilometre hike in rain-or-shine. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)

Andy van de Wetering makes sure to get his five kilometre hike in rain-or-shine. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)

VIDEO: Maple Ridge man walking equivalent of trek to Calgary and back to support friend

Andy van de Wetering, 76, hikes five kilometres daily to buoy spirits of cancer fighter

Andy van de Wetering wanted to do something for a good friend battling brain cancer.

The 76-year-old from Maple Ridge was feeling slightly helpless when his pal of 40 years called him with the bad news last spring.

“At the time COVID-19 had just started, so I couldn’t visit,” he said.

“So I promised I was going to walk to Calgary and back to honour her.”

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Van de Wetering walks every day around the Pitt Polder Ecological Reserve in Pitt Meadows.

He figured it would take him about a year to walk the equivalent distance of a return trip to Calgary, which is more than 1,800 kilometres.

“She laughed and said, ‘You’re going to kill yourself,’ and I said, ‘No, I’ll do five clicks every day.’

“I never miss it.”

Van de Wetering said Ralda Van Koughnette was very helpful to him when he was going through his own cancer battle, so this walk is the least he could do.

“She used to come down once a year and cook me enough meals to last an entire year,” he said.

“My freezer was always full.”

He started the walk on May 15 last year, so only has a couple months of trekking left.

The good turn seems to be paying off.

“She’s getting much better,” van de Wetering said.

“She’s home right now, and healing up.”

READ MORE: Kilted Scotsman launches walking trek across Canada in B.C.


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