Two men from Winnipeg are trying to finish what Canadian icon Terry Fox started back in 1980.
Jackson Charron-Okerlund and Robert Ingran of Cross Canada Jax are determined to walk across Canada in support of cancer research, being inspired by the late Terry Fox who walked over 5,000 kilometres before his disease forced him to stop.
“He [Terry Fox] is such a Canadian icon,” says Charron-Okerlund. “I got into the business of helping and serving others and this cause has touched millions out there and I thought this would be a great cause to get behind and help to try and find that cure.”
The two made their way to Moose Jaw on Sunday night and were greeted by over 20 people at the city’s Tourism Centre supporting the journey they had set out to do.
While in Moose Jaw, the two were treated to a meal from the Mad Greek Restaurant before exiting the city and making it to their next destination.
Sunday marked 125 days of trekking across the country, starting in St. Johns, Newfoundland, with the finish line in Port Coquitlam, BC, and have already walked over 5,000 kilometres. Over 125 days, the pair have raised over $75,000 for cancer research.
“When I first took on this mission, I never thought that anyone would want to come out, say hi, and let me know they have been supporting the mission. It’s been extremely overwhelming but I’m so grateful and appreciative of everyone who has supported the journey. Without everyone coming together to support this, I would just be a guy on a highway,” adds Charron-Okerlund.
Initially, their goal was $50,000 which was hit in Ontario, and the new goal is set to $100,000 with every penny counting towards finding a cure for cancer.
Charron-Okerlund is the one walking across Canada with long-time friend Robert Ingran following along providing the transportation and arranging meals and accommodation for Jackson along the way.
“It’s been crazy. Jackson has been planning this for a while, but I never thought I would be the guy to be on the journey with him but it all just came together, and I was able to help my friend raise a lot of money for cancer,” says Ingran.
In total, Charron-Okerlund will walk a total of 6,680 kilometres from coast-to-coast, which took him four years to prepare for, especially with the terrain he has and will face along his journey.
“So, I do about two hours, 3 hours, four hours of running a day, and then I would get into the gym afterwards and do like, squats and calf raises and then hit the incline on the treadmill or even the Stairmaster, and then also did a lot of upper body training. It's kind of all dwindling away out here, but yeah, I had to get all that to make sure I was ready to take on this mission."
Because of the treacherous terrain he has faced, along with the extreme heat, especially here in Saskatchewan, Jackson has gone through his fair share of shoes so far.
“This is currently pair of shoes number eight; we call them the Prairie Blue Skies. Thanks to Canadian Footwear, they gave us four pairs from Winnipeg to the finish line.”
Donations can be made in person at their stops or via their Go Fund Me page. The two friends are travelling on Highway #1 headed to Swift Current, Saskatchewan over the next few days. You can follow along with their journey on TikTok with their daily live streams and videos at @CrossCanadaJax.
(With files from Courtney Fielder/Country 100)
You can catch the complete interview with Country 100's Courtney Fielder with Jackson Charron-Okerlund and Robert Ingran of Cross Canada Jax here: