The Can-Survive Walk has been an “eye-opening start to retirement” for Rita Lefebvre, who joined her son Jimmy this past May with three of her grandchildren and her daughter-in-law on their Cross-Canada Road trip to end Cancer. As with the rest of the family, Rita had no reservations in telling Jimmy that his idea was crazy, although she admits that she wasn’t surprised considering Jimmy’s motivated and tenacious personality. Rita made the decision to join the walk nevertheless, seeing that it would be the best way to support Jimmy, and she wanted him to know she was with him every step of the way.
Rita retired in early April. Before that, she was working for Calfrac Well Services. She loves cooking and camping, usually at her lot on Lesser Slave Lake, and she grew up on Prince Edward Island just three kilometres down the road from where her husband Simon Lefebvre was laid to rest. When Rita started on this cross-Canada adventure, she was most looking forward to walking through the Maritimes. During the journey, she thought she’d just be staying in the motorhome, helping to drive and cheer the family on.
That’s not how it has turned out. As they get closer and closer to reaching the end of their journey, Rita joins in to walk as much as she can.
“I walk six to 10 kilometres every day,” Rita says proudly. “Ten is my maximum. Kristie and I take turns driving. When Jimmy takes a break we go out and keep on walking.”
Jimmy’s wife Kristie jokes that they almost can’t keep Rita in the motorhome. Rita’s favourite thing about the journey has been meeting people from different walks of life.
“I love having people wish us well and support us along the way,” shares Rita. “We have a lot of people stopping.” Rita’s been inspired by the number of people who have stopped, from those wishing them well, to those just making sure they’re okay.
Rita shares that although it’s a bit challenging being together in the motorhome 24/7, Rita has been able to find time every now and then to relax and reflect. She’s thought about what Jimmy’s father would say if he knew his son had planned such an adventure. On the one hand, she considers, Simon would not believe his son was doing this and would wonder if everything would go well. On the other hand, she knows that he would be very proud.
To those following the Can-Survive Walk, Rita says “keep on supporting us, keep on watching us, and look forward to whatever cities we’re coming into. If you’re there give us a shout and come walk with us.
“And, if you’re thinking of doing your own walk, you have to be well-prepared!”
The Lefebvre Foundation was created in memory of Simon Lefebvre, who died of cancer in 2016. The Foundation’s goal is to raise endowment funds to help society become and live cancer free through the effective use of awareness, education, support and treatment for the physical and mental health and well-being of all those who are affected by cancer.
The Can-Survive Walk is a 5,716-kilometre walk being completed by Simon’s son, Jimmy Lefebvre and his family. The Lefebvre’s will walk 7.2 million steps from Grande Prairie, Alberta to Saint Louis, Prince Edward Island between May 1 and August 31, 2018.
To support the Can-Survive Walk, visit our Donations page. Donations both big and small will go towards the L Foundation’s endowment fund. Thanks in advance for your support! To date, over $24,700 has been raised to eradicate this dreadful illness. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, over 80,000 people in Canada died from the disease in 2017.