Other than a couple of big hills, 94-year-old Frank Atchison isn’t intimidated by a 260-km trek.
“Those are going to be the torturous things for me, the two hills,” Atchison said. “But I’ll make it.”
The Second World War veteran is walking from Saskatoon to Regina to raise money for children’s hospitals. He took the first of thousands of steps Thursday morning, with a plan to arrive in Regina on June 15 — his 95th birthday.
Funds raised will be split between the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon and the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Montreal.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how much money we can really raise for these hospitals,” Atchison said.
“We’ve got to look after our children.”
Atchison will walk about five kilometres a day, driving home each night for the first leg of the trip. He’ll sleep in a motorhome as he gets further from Saskatoon.
After running a menswear store in Saskatoon for 46 years, Atchison is used to being on his feet.
“I walked to work for 20 years,” he said. “It was six miles a day, so I’m cutting it in half.”
Atchison said he’s walked up to 16 km a day to get in shape, sometimes up and down his hallway.
Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Brynn Boback-Lane said Atchison reminds her of the kids she works with.
“They give hope and they inspire and that’s exactly the same as what Frank is doing today,” she said.
“Frank, his enthusiasm reminds me so much of the strength and enthusiasm we see at children’s hospitals across the country.”