What started as a way to raise money for palliative care and awareness for end of life care has become a beacon of hope for communities looking to secure a hospice.
North Bay welcomed Bos Tuesday at the Davedi Club to share his story.
“People aren’t aware of palliative care and few have access to it,” Bos said.
“The public tries to avoid the conversation of death. So many people have reached out and shared their personal stories it inspires me I’m on the right track.”
But the inspiration to walk across the country came from his own personal experience.
“My dad would have been in a hospital if there was no palliative care service that allowed him to die at home. He always wanted to be at home. Everyone deserves to die with dignity,” Bos said.
“Dad died of lung cancer in January. He received amazing care. I remember the first time (palliative staff) came to the house. They sat beside his bed and held his hand and looked into his eyes. They made dad feel very worthy,” he said.
“You have so many hospice’s trying to raise millions of dollars to remain open. It’s inspiring to see what people will do to help others.”
Bos said walking from one end of Canada to the other is a way he can giving back.
Bos started his journey titled Ian’s Walk for End of Life Care in May in Nova Scotia and he’s expected to end his journey in British Columbia in October.
So far he’s travelled 1,800 kilometres or 40 to 50 km per day and there’s still thousands more to go.
“Five months is a long time. There’s no short cuts,” Bos said.
He travels light – a walking stick and a backpack stuffed with a sleeping bag, tent, pillow, couple of days worth of clothes, food, water and electronics.
Bos spends most nights sleeping in his tent, the remaining time he bunks with people throughout the community.
“Northern Ontario is quite the challenge because of its remoteness. And I still hate bugs,” he said.
“It’s been a long road, but so rewarding. Days when it’s raining all day and then you see your shadow or a beautiful rainbow you really appreciate what you have.”
Bos is hoping to raise $25,000 for the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society, which assisted his father, as well as, palliative care societies across Canada, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA), and the provincial palliative care associations.
As of Tuesday, Bos has received more than $11,000 in donations.
Mathilde Gravelle Bazinet, chairwoman for the Nipissing Serenity Hospice said in Ontario palliative care is delivered in patchwork facilities.
She said communities like Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Huntsville benefit from a hospice.
“It’s about time Nipissing and East Parry Sound residents have access to equal home hospice care.”
Bazinet said volunteers have spent four years working on securing a hospice for North Bay.
She said the board hopes to announce the location of the hospice site in a few weeks.
You can follow his journey at https://http://www.facebook.com/ianswalk2015.