Ian Bos has never had so many people watch him lace up his sneakers.
On Monday, Bos wrapped up Ian’s Walk For End-of-Life Care from his hometown of New Glasglow, Nova Scotia to Victoria to raise awareness and more than $25,000 for palliative societies across Canada.
The 6,000-kilometre journey ended at Mile Zero with Bos dipping his feet in the Pacific Ocean.
“I feel incredible. We met so many amazing people and I really feel good about all the awareness that we’ve raised with our partners all across the country,” Bos said, after lacing up his sneakers. “People of palliative and hospice care are so dedicated. Shining the spotlight on them is a real honour for me.”
Bos, a 39-year-old former Victoria resident, began his cross-country journey in memory of his late father, Ted, who passed away from cancer in January. Through the assistance of the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society in Nova Scotia, the family was able to keep Ted at home before he passed — something that meant the world to them.
On May 21, armed with a 50-pound backpack full of food, clothing, a sleeping bag, water, and his mother’s walking stick, Bos set out on his journey, walking an average of 40 km a day and sleeping in a tent on the side of the road.
The most challenging part of the walk was the emotional toll, hearing the stories of people who were suffering from loss and grief, and the care they received from palliative care workers in various cities including Ottawa, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Langley and Chilliwack.
More than 150 days (and six pairs of sneakers) later, Bos, hand-in-hand with his mother and sister, crossed the green finish line.
“He’s done an amazing job. I’m very proud,” said his mother Nancy. “(Palliative care) is a good topic to be discussed and you talk about it and move on and enjoy your life.”
Bos was also welcomed by his former Victoria colleagues and members of Victoria Hospice.
Douglas McGregor, medical director with Victoria Hospice, said Bos has attracted national attention for hospice palliative care issues in the country.
“I think the public has a vague idea of what palliative care and what end-of-life is about and I think there needs to be some public education and public engagement so that they understand more that is offered and what people’s options are towards end-of-life,” McGregor said.
“Hospice palliative care is expanding, but it’s still only meeting in the best circumstances of about 40 per cent of the population need.”
While Bos’ journey has ended, he said there’s more work to be done to make palliative care accessible to everyone.