DEER LAKE Graydon Pelley isn’t taking age 50 lying down.
To celebrate his birthday milestone this June the Elwood Elementary teacher plans to walk across the island, from St. John’s to Deer Lake, to raise money for the Janeway Children’s Hospital.
He did a walk last year, between Deer Lake and Corner Brook, raising just over $5,500 for the hospital.
“(Walking across the island) is something I always wanted to do,” said Pelley. “When I saw how much I was able to raise with last year’s walk I thought I’d walk across Newfoundland this year in the hopes to raise even more.”
“Even more” is his actual goal — Pelley said he doesn’t want to set a specific number, but hopes he can raise more than last year’s walk. Ideally, he’d at least like to double that amount, but anything can happen.
He said the walk represents the desire of hospitalized kids to go home. Pelley has been spending the year getting prepared for the walk. He’s been weight training and running, and said he has so far managed to lose a few pounds.
He said he appreciates the support he’s receiving, much of which is coming from Elwood Elementary students. On the wall outside the school’s main office is a cluster of paper balloons representing student, parent and teacher donations. So far there are over 200 of them.
“I figure it will take me about 11 days to get here from St. John’s,” said Pelley. “That’s going by my speed in last year’s walk.”
He added that his average walking speed is about 9 km/h.
Pelley is already seeing the support rolling in from outside the school with the donation of a bike for a raffle for those names on the balloons. Also, a truck and a trailer were donated by two separate Deer Lake companies.
He’ll start his walk on June 24 at 7 a.m. at the Janeway Hospital. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at any Scotiabank branch. He has also started a Facebook page called Caring for Kids Janeway Walk 2013.