Man walking across Canada to end malaria makes Regina stop
Dylan Gray will arrive in Regina this evening while walking the Trans-Canada Highway.
His trip is like no other because he is not followed by a van or a crew. He is completely independent.
He dipped his head in the Atlantic ocean June 24 and hopes to do the same in the Pacific Ocean in Vancouver.
“I’ve been through, this is probably the seventh pair of shoes.”
He is travelling across the country but his message is travelling across the world, to countries most affected by malaria.
Gray is accepting donations for Steps To End Malaria because – according to the World Health Organization – the mosquito-borne disease is still very prominent in the African region . In 2012 almost 500,000 children under the age of five died of malaria, which is equivalent to one death every minute.
The Vancouver native says that when he returns home his future is unclear. His journey started after a near-death experience when a head injury had him declared dead on arrival by EMS. After surviving the injury his perspective on life dramatically changed.
” I am not really sure what I am going to do after [I get to Vancouver] but it’s going to be something to help people. I feel like the answer will be there once I get there,” Gray said.
The cross-country trip is a spiritual one for Gray. He often stops to do yoga and meditate. He says he has seen many very beautiful spots in the country, which have served as calming self-reflection areas.
Before leaving, he sold all his belongings and only the necessities that fit in his backpack and his jogging stroller remain.
“I have my Arctic clothing and some gear in Calgary waiting but this is pretty much it and this is my life right here.”
Couch surfing and camping, he wasn’t always able to find a good night’s sleep. He says he even slept under a bridge in New Brunswick.
“I didn’t have a tent at that time either so I slept underneath the bridge by the rocks and the trucks would go by. I’m in my sleeping bag and then there were spiders biting me so it was definitely one of the rougher nights.”
All a part of the journey he added.
“One of the nights when I was like, what have I gotten myself into.”
When asked what hurts the most, his answer was his joints.
“Ankles, knees, even like my elbows from pushing the cart.”
Gray added he has learned that all people are instinctively good, as he has received help and confidence from strangers along the way.
“I’ve met a lot of eccentric people at truck stops but for the most part it’s just kind-hearted people,” Gray said.
This includes some kind-hearted drivers in southern Saskatchewan.
“Today, earlier down the road some lady pulled over and she gave me a pack of energy bars and a small donation.”
Gray travels opposite of traffic as he feels safer being able to see oncoming traffic.
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