My name is Laurie Gagnier, but I go by the trail name "Canadian Bacon".
I am a 52 year old Mother of 3, and grandmother of 5, and I have led a very charmed life.
I will be hiking the 150km of the Sentier Nepisiguit Mi'gMaq Trail in New Brunswick starting September 6, 2022.
It is a total back-country trek following the Nepisiguit River from Mount Carleton to Bathurst, NB that will take me anywhere from 10-14 days to complete. It won’t be easy! In the spirit of Swim-a-thons and Dance-a-thons of yesteryear I would love it if you would support this Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario fundraiser.
I am paying for all the costs of the trip myself - so every penny raised goes to CHEO!
The folks at the CHEO Foundation asked me to write my story for you - so here goes (and there is quite a bit of kleenex involved on my end because I am a pretty private person).
When I turned 50 in 2020, it was celebrated by fighting breast cancer. As I was going through radiation in June of 2020, there was a day when I was feeling pretty rough, and very sorry for myself. I looked up as I heard the noise of a hospital bed coming down the hall.
On that bed I saw an amazingly heroic person. He couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years old. I may never know his name and I don't know what he was battling. It was obvious it was a pretty big fight though and as I watched him roll by for his treatment, with his Mom walking behind with a bag full of books and toys to keep him happy, I immediately broke down and started to cry. Not some little tear down the cheek, quiet kind of cry...it was the all out bouncing shoulders, chest heaving sobs, nose running, can't stop it if I even wanted to kind of cry.
I have always been a CHEO supporter, donating a portion of my income for 23 years through the Miracle Home Program as a RE/MAX REALTOR®, as well as being what I call a "Couch potato Giver" - happily supporting anyone that is fundraising for the hospital.
But this hit me differently and has become my "Why". I can understand fighting a disease as an adult, in a life half lived already...but every fibre of my being was overtaken by a feeling of how inherently wrong it is for ANY child to have to fight anything. I realized CHEO had been there for all the scrapes, minor surgeries and everything in between. Not only for me, but for my kids and grandkids. I had spent years taking them for granted.
Seeing a 4 year old roll through the Ottawa General Campus radiation section because obviously CHEO was overrun that day broke. my. heart.
Something changed in me that day and I have spent the last 2 years preparing to become the "Doer" that I hope to remain.
In my own small way, I want to support all the incredible staff at CHEO, as well as all the amazing kids, AND their parents,that are fighting every single day.
The gift to myself after my treatment was a 7 day backcountry hike in Algonquin park with my husband. (Who is coming on this one too - his trail name is “Sidekick”)
And that Algonquin hike was where the idea for this fundraiser started. I am so very pleased to finally be at the point where I do something for all the heroes at CHEO - kids, parents, families, staff, researchers and administrators alike.
I know the last 3 years have been a struggle for everyone, physically, mentally and financially. Anything you can spare will be welcome, but also know that just words of support, or sharing the endeavour within your circles is more than enough! Whether it's the value of a fancy coffee or more, I am grateful for every penny that I can direct to CHEO.
It may be rough, but there will be pics and videos, so follow along on the journey!
You can follow along on Instagram - @canadianbaconhikes
or the YouTube Channel
or TikTok - @canadianbaconhikes
*** All donations made through this page will receive a tax receipt automatically emailed to them ****