Graham Robertson

Graham Robertson

Cyclist hits road for palliative care

Graham Robertson is a strapping 27-year old massage therapist with a triathlon under his belt and clearly doesn’t need palliative care.

However, the massage therapist from Victoria is cycling from Anchorage, Alaska to Victoria, B.C. to raise awareness of palliative care delivered by hospices.

Graham Robertson is a strapping 27-year old massage therapist with a triathlon under his belt and clearly doesn’t need palliative care.

However, the massage therapist from Victoria is cycling from Anchorage, Alaska to Victoria, B.C. to raise awareness of palliative care delivered by hospices.

With funds coming from his own pocket, Robertson headed out on the Cycle of Life Tour July 25 and arrived home August 25 with many memories and a sense of accomplishment.

“I realized something needed to be done to raise the awareness of the good  work done by hospices and palliative care,” Robertson explained.

Board member with the Quesnel and District Hospice Palliative Care Association, Darlene Osborne agreed.

“That is one of our biggest challenges, few people understand hospice and also not being shy about talking about hospice,” she said.

Robertson’s journey began when he lost a friend to cancer.

He began looking around, looking for a place where he could direct his energy and ran into some friends who had lost family members to cancer.

“Hospice was there for them and they said it was irreplaceable,” Robertson said was the message they gave him.

In addition to raising funds along the way, Robertson raised more than $16,000 before the trip through an auction fundraiser and donating his time as a massage therapist once a month.

“I’ve never done any fundraising before,” he said.

“I’m very pleased with the support I have received.”

Although bothered by a nagging knee problem, Robertson did find the time to appreciate the journey, which included some amazing scenery and intimate views of bears going about their business.

“There are many good moments, but the bears are pretty cool,” Robertson said with a big grin during his stop in Quesnel.

“We should all take the time to help them out.”

Another favourite spot was Tatoga Lake, a spot where he appreciated the complete lack of evidence of humanity.

The journey also allowed Robertson time to reflect on life and how lucky Canadians are.

“Look around and realize the importance of the services around you,” Robertson said.

To fund the trip, Robertson said he had to be very frugal.

Porridge and trail mix were important staples given they don’t spoil easily and are simple to prepare and pack.

It was impossible to carry all the food he needed for the month-long journey, so Robertson prepared care packages for himself that he sent ahead to various stops on his trip.

Robertson also highlighted the help he received along the way from the communities he passed through, help which he said always came along at the right time.

 

“Especially on the days were I was

ready to go home, I was exhausted, or grumpy, or wet from cycling in the rain all day,” he said.

 

“People have been very accommodating and supportive.

“People have been very encouraging and open to the idea of hospice and palliative care.”

For information regarding the Quesnel and District Hospice Palliative Care Association call 250-985-5816.