Nfld. & Labrador

Why these 2 west coast men, in their 70s, are walking 50 km in scorching heat

Kevin Garnier and David Sheppard are walking from Deer Lake to Corner Brook, which they expect will take 12 hours, to raise money for what's called a "cuddle bed" for the Corner Brook hospital.

Kevin Garnier and David Sheppard raising money for a palliative-care cuddle bed

Kevin Garnier, left, and David Sheppard, are pounding the pavement in a 12-hour, 50-kilometre walk starting bright and early Wednesday morning. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Two west coast men are braving the scorching temperatures and headed out for a (very) long walk, raising money for a new piece of hospital equipment that many might not be familiar with. 

Kevin Garnier and David Sheppard, both in their 70s, are walking from Deer Lake to Corner Brook on Wednesday, a 50-odd-kilometre journey.

They plan to pound the pavement at 5:30 a.m. and arrive in Corner Brook around suppertime. 

As if that wasn't arduous enough, it will be a hot one, with a humidex in the mid-30s C. They are taking the weather in stride, since the walk is for a good cause. 

They are raising money for what's called a "cuddle bed," for the palliative-care unit at the Corner Brook hospital. 

"It's a double-sized bed where a spouse or partners can rest and lie down with their partner and feel more comfortable," said Sheppard. 

Word spread about their big undertaking, so they upped their fundraising goal from $16,000 to $20,000. 

This is a cuddle bed at the James Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander. The beds are bigger than a single hospital bed, so loved ones can share the space. (Facebook )

Garnier joked there is still lots of opportunity to help, both financially and keeping the men cool.

"So if they throw us a bottle of water, have a $20 bill attached to that," he told CBC News on Tuesday. 

Training hours logged

They've put in lots of walking hours, logging anywhere from eight to 16 kilometres at a time. 

They have completed the full 50 kilometres before, and they are staying optimistic they will do it again. 

"It looks like its going to be cloudy with a 60 per cent chance of rain so that's going to help us I think.… And there are lots of brooks along the way that we will just dip ourselves into," said Garnier.

"Some dampness will cool us down a bit," added Sheppard. 

"We have family members to support us along the route, so they will have lots of cold water for us, cold sports drinks and even ice cold towels," said Garnier.

The two have logged many kilometres, and joke that if they run out of things to talk about, they'll listen to music. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

If the heat does become too much, they'll stop at the halfway mark.

So how are they feeling physically?

"Terrible! As a 70-year-old body should feel," joked Sheppard. 

When asked what hurts, Garnier fired back, "My feet, his hips."

Twelve straight hours — walking, no less — is a long time to spend with one other person. But they are prepared for that.

"We are starting to run out of things to say to each other," Garnier said, laughing.

"We start out, it's a brief conversation and then we both put on the music and listen to the music."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Colleen Connors