Sore legs and burning lungs is nothing, compared to what survivors went through and are going through, Sasha Perron is telling himself.
The Langford man is preparing to run a half-marathon on Saturday, followed by a 10-km run on Sunday … followed by another 21.5 km on Tuesday … and so on until he’s totalled 216 kilometres.
One kilometre for every child who was found last month at a former Kamloops residential school, plus one for those children still waiting to be found.
“We are grieving the loss of these pure souls. It is heartbreaking knowing these children were forcibly removed from their home lands. Stripped from their culture and punished for using their language,” Perron said.
On Vancouver Island alone there were five residential schools, one in Port Alberni where his mother and aunties went. “I’m the first generation that didn’t have to go to residential school,” said Perron, a Da’naxda’xw First Nation man.
The run is his way to help build community and to support survivors. Within three days of sharing the plan he’s already raised over $3,000 for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, a non-profit that provides counselling, therapy and support for survivors. He’s also inviting anyone who’s interested and able to join him on the runs. Routes and times will be posted on his Facebook page, where he’s collecting donations: facebook.com/donate/323267842512317/
Taking a rest day after every two runs, he estimated it will take him three weeks to hit 216 kilometres.
Perron has never trained for a marathon and he’s nervous about the amount of running, but knows he’ll gain strength from his ancestors, his family and from the children whose lives are being mourned.
“I feel like a lot of people are finding their strength and power now,” he said.
“The main goal is to support the survivors, and bring our community together here in Victoria to create a positive thing we can do together to collectively heal.”
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