A man from Essex, Ontario, has walked the journey from London to Windsor – to honor his son, who died after being diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer.
John Trepanier is one of the co-founders of the Nolan’s Smile Foundation. The organization raises funds to improve the quality of life for children and families affected by life-threatening diseases.
The foundation was formed after the death of two-year-old Nolan Trepanier.
At the age of 18 months, Nolan was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer that affects children.
Nolan died on June 21, 2019 – two months short of his third birthday.
When asked why he chose such a harrowing performance to honor his son, John Trepanier said he wanted to do something that represented the challenges children with cancer face every day.
“It’s my first time doing this. I’ve ridden ultras in the past, but this is definitely the first time I’ve done anything at this distance,” said Trepanier.
John Trepanier’s London to Windsor run began on August 27, 2022 and continued into the next day, covering approximately 182 kilometers. (Source: Google Maps)Trepanier’s journey began at around 5am on Saturday at the Children’s Hospital at the London Health Sciences Centre.
After around 182 kilometers, Trepanier finished his run on Sunday evening at the Metropolitan Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital, which houses a satellite clinic for pediatric oncology.
But Trepanier did not run alone to the proverbial finish line. He made several stops along the way to greet friends, family and supporters – including some who ran parts of his journey with him.
He said his efforts are aimed at raising public awareness of the Nolan’s Smile Foundation and “honoring” children who have battled or died from childhood cancer, including Nolan.
“He was a happy little guy who loved tractors and loved everyone,” Trepanier said.
“It’s hard to describe. He was our son. He was everything to us.”
People made signs of support along John Trepanier’s route. (Source: Nolan’s Smile Foundation/Facebook)