On a rainy day in Regina, Edward Dostaler got a warm welcome from the Regina Police Service as he runs across Canada and back in support of Alzheimer’s and breast cancer research.
Like so many others who start out on fundraising runs across the country, Dostaler – known as Fast Eddy – started out with one goal for a cause close to his heart.
“My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a couple years ago so I said I’d run across Canada one way with support,” he explained.
But as he was planning his journey and a way to make it stand out, he met a professor who inspired him to do more.
“When I found out that he passed away – he was an advocate of breast cancer, so I said in honour of him I would double the distance, run solo and unsupported,” Dostaler said.
Starting his cross country journey on March 1, 2015, he says it has taken roughly 500 days to run about 24,000 kilometres with another 3,000 km left to go in another 80 days.
He says Saskatchewan really stands out for him going both ways because he covered 191 km in a 24-hour period. But overall this journey has made him appreciate the diversity of the people across the country.
Stopping in communities across all 10 provinces, Dostaler has given talks to schools and sponsored community runs in some places.
“It’s an amazing response – you learn quite fast that Alzheimer’s is diverse, the youngest person with Alzheimer’s is 27. Men get breast cancer, I’ve met some of those and it’s very troubling that there’s almost a shame when a male gets breast cancer and there shouldn’t be, you still lose people,” he said.
“Rather than the 88 per cent survival rate of breast cancer, I look at the 12 per cent that don’t make it and I fight for those people.”
Dostaler’s run is also different because he is acting more as a portal by funneling all the donations directly to provincial chapters of the breast cancer foundation and the Alzheimer’s Society.