Father's death spurs Alberta man to walk across Canada for cancer

A Valleyview, Alta., man is walking to Prince Edward Island to raise money and awareness for cancer in memory of his father.

Jimmy Lefebvre started his four-month, cross-country journey in Grande Prairie Tuesday

Jimmy Lefebvre launched the Can-Survive Walk in honour of his father, who died of cancer in 2016. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Roughly 55 kilometres a day, seven days a week, for four months.

On Tuesday, Jimmy Lefebvre slipped into a broken-in pair of running shoes to start the first leg of his Can-Survive Walk across the country.

He plans to walk more than a marathon daily to raise money for the Lefebvre Foundation, a new charity in the fight against cancer. 

If he finishes his trek on schedule, he'll arrive in Prince Edward Island on Aug. 31 — his father's birthday.

Lefebvre launched the Can-Survive Walk in memory of his father, Simon Lefebvre, who died of lung cancer in 2016. 

"Sitting there at Dad's bedside, holding his hand while he was taking his very last breaths of life, I knew I had to do something," Lefebvre said.

He left from Grande Prairie, Alta., his family's hometown, and plans to walk at least eight hours a day until he reaches the East Coast, gathering momentum for his fundraiser along the way.

His father's grave on Prince Edward Island marks the end of a 5,160-kilometre journey.

Jimmy Lefebvre hugs his family in Grande Prairie on the first day of his four-month trek across Canada. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

The fundraiser has already hit $10,000 on the first day of the walk, Lefebvre said.

He said he wants to put the money toward a long-term fund for research, awareness and to support cancer patients and their families. 

"With all of us working together, we can have a pretty big impact on this awful disease," Lefebvre said. 

His wife, three children and mother will follow his on-foot journey in an RV. The family left Grande Prairie together with a police escort, heading southeast on Highway 43 toward Edmonton.

"It means lots. It'll be a closure as well as a big accomplishment that he's doing for his father," said his mother, Rita Lefebvre. "He would be very proud of him but he would also think maybe he's a little crazy."

Jimmy Lefebvre (left) launched the Can-Survive Walk in memory of his father, Simon Lefebvre (right). (Facebook)