Brian Lafleur and Julia Shillolo say they have a lot to be thankful for. As avid runners and hikers, they are healthy, happily married and have wonderful friends and family in their lives. Several times a year, including Thanksgiving, they drive to Ontario’s beautiful Muskoka area to see Julia’s parents. That’s just over 385 kilometers from Ottawa.
They’ve talked in the past about one day doing the trek on foot. So this fall they teamed up with a group called ‘Good Guys Tri’ and decided they would run/walk to their family for Thanksgiving Dinner – and help others while doing it. They chose to raise awareness about how many meals The Ottawa Mission expects to serve over the Thanksgiving fall season – 95,000. They asked supporters to turn their attention to the need for donations and in the process raised more than $3700 for The Mission!
It took them 4 days of running and walking, but they made it. We asked Brian & Julia about the toughest part of their journey. They described Day 2 as the low point. They were in a thickly forested stretch of central Ontario and they lost each other on the road. Julia took a wrong turn and then couldn’t contact Brian on their two way radios. It would have been easy to throw in the towel but they didn’t. They eventually found each other, re-grouped and continued on. Brian says they have learned something about themselves on every journey like this that has challenged them.
Many people that come to The Mission are going through tough journeys too. Life has dealt them a set of circumstances that has led them to a homeless shelter. With the services and programs at The Mission, they too can re-group, learn and continue on just as Brian and Julia did – one step at a time.