Lonely long-distance walk in memory of his son

Some people walk for exercise. Others walk for pleasure.
Bill Ray walks in memory of his son Brian.

BILL RAY is walking the length of the Island and to the Burnaby office of the Children’s Wish Foundation. At left is Ray’s buddy

BILL RAY is walking the length of the Island and to the Burnaby office of the Children’s Wish Foundation. At left is Ray’s buddy

Some people walk for exercise. Others walk for pleasure. Bill Ray walks in memory of his son Brian, who lost a battle with leukemia 15 years ago and died at the age of nine. Ray has embarked on a walk extending the length of Vancouver Island to raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. The BC & Yukon chapter granted Brian a final wish by sending him to Disneyland. “I’m just doing it for payback, to raise funds and awareness,” Ray said Monday during a day off in Courtenay. The 49-year-old Maple Ridge resident started his journey Thursday in Port Hardy. He has been walking about 50 kilometres per day.In Victoria, where he once lived, Ray will pay his respects at Beacon Hill Park, where he scattered Brian’s ashes. He will then trek to the foundation office in Burnaby. Ray is hoping to raise one dollar from every working person between Port Hardy and Burnaby. The awareness portion is progressing as he speaks with people along the way, but the money has been slow to come. As of Monday, Ray’s efforts had generated about $60 to the cause. His feet have been swelling and blistering as he breaks in his 9 1/2-size runners, which felt comfortable at the store. In hindsight, however, a size 10 might have been better.”My toes are paying for it,” he quipped. Ray has so far stayed free of charge at a lodge in Port McNeill and at the Salvation Army shelter in Campbell River. His friend, Tom Boyce, shared his home in Courtenay. Ray plans to finish walking March 19.  For more information visit www.wishmonth.ca. Click on Brian’s Walk for Wishes.reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com