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Guy Poole lost his wife to diabetic complications in 2004 and has been performing walks of up to 300 km in Labrador each year to raise money for diabetes research. This year he crossed onto the island and started walking from St. Anthony to Cow Head. He had reached River of Ponds as of Friday.
RIVER OF PONDS When Guy Poole lost his wife to complications from diabetes in 2004 he knew he needed to do something.
In 2006 the St. Lewis, Labrador native started walking around Labrador to raise money for diabetes research. Originally it was supposed to be a one-time event, but he has gone on to walk between 200-300 km of Labrador roads each year. The 70-year-old crossed the Strait of Belle Isle and he’s making his way from St. Anthony down to Cow Head. Over the next couple of years he hopes to make it all the way across the island to St. John’s.
That first year something happened to make Poole want to continue walking until he is forced to stop.
“I got a note from a little girl from Charlottetown, she was only nine at the time, she recognized that my feet were banged up but she hopes we find a cure,” he said. “That note is the reason I’m still walking today, I wrote her back and promised her I’d keep going, and I’m going to keep that promise”
Poole called the walk Liz’s Walk, named for his wife, Elizabeth. He said everywhere he goes he is joined by local residents of each town, some of whom walk with him for upwards of 20 km.
“And then they have to walk home again,” he said. “I can’t believe the support I get when I’m out here, people are so good and generous.”
To date he has raised over $30,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association. Along his trips Poole speaks with local groups, students, walking or running clubs, town council representatives and services clubs, as well as the general public during organized meet and greet events.
Poole said he doesn’t get very tired while he’s walking. Since he arrived in St. Anthony earlier this week he’s been wearing rain gear and in inclement weather he admits it is more difficult. But keeping his ultimate goal in mind helps.
“I’ll hang up my shoes either when they find a cure or I can’t walk anymore,” he said. “This is very important to me to get the message out about this disease and finding a cure.”
He hopes that he might inspire people to start walking themselves, because walking, he said, is an excellent way to stay in shape, as well as eating right. If someone is physically fit and they do happen to contract diabetes, he said, they would be better able to deal with it.
He hopes to be in Cow Head in the next few days.