Fundraising firefighters complete quest for B.C. Paralympian

The four Penticton residents raising money for Victoria Paralympian complete journey

Melissa Irish (front) with (left to right) Tyler Luscombe, Braydon Kellett, Braydon Luscombe and Danny Larsen in Victoria Saturday. The four Penticton residents did a fundraising run for Paralympian Braydon Luscombe. Submitted photo

A marathon a day came to an end Saturday as Tyler Luscombe and friends completed their nine-day, 432-kilometre fundraising run from Penticton to Victoria.

Run For Luscombe 2018, in support of Tyler’s younger brother, Paralympian Braydon Luscombe, 26, finished at Topaz Park in the provincial capital.

Tyler, Braydon Kellett, Danny Larsen and Melissa Irish, all BC Wildfire Service employees, ran alternating shifts along the Crows Nest Highway through the Fraser Valley to the finish line.

“There were about 40 or 50 people at the end and it was pretty cool. As we were coming up the hill everyone was cheering,” recalled Tyler, 28. “I don’t think any of us expected it to be emotional but it really was. Grandparents were there and friends and some people we didn’t even know, it was pretty cool.

“It was at that point in time, at least for myself, I just kind of took a deep breath and went ‘holy, we actually did this’ it was a pretty special moment.”

While they are still tabulating the figures, he expects they will reach their $10,000 goal.

A para-alpine racer, Braydon Luscombe has been a member of the Canadian Paralympic Ski Team for seven years and has to raise the money each year for team fees and equipment to continue competing.

He lost his right leg to necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) when he was five and has competed in the last two Paralympic games.

The four Penticton residents also used the run as an opportunity to raise awareness about the Paralympic program.

Braydon actually met his brother and friends on the last portion of the trip, driving their CanaDream motorhome to the finish so all four could complete the run together.

Related: Okanagan runners finishing up day four of Run for Luscombe 2018

Arriving back in Penticton late Monday night, according to Tyler the return trip seemed very surreal.

“It was kind weird, we drove that whole route that took us nine days in about four and a half hours. I guess it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I guess one of these days it will,” he said.

There were times during the nine days, with bad weather and struggling up the long hills that seemed to go forever, Tyler, and he believed his friends did as well, questioned the decision to do the run in the first place.

“There were definitely some days where it was pouring rain and you’re soaking wet and you’re out in the middle of nowhere and you’re like ‘what is going on right now?’” Tyler recalled. “But it was for my brother so that was definitely a kick in the butt, there was just such meaning behind it.”

The four, who fight wildfires in the summer months together, also relied on each other to keep going during the difficult times.

“All those people, yes, I work with them but in our line of work we’re out in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain and all we have is each other,” said Tyler.

“That’s kind of a feeling we have quite often. They are my family I trust them with my life, with everything.”

Related: Okanagan brother of Paralympian and friends on course for Victoria

He was also very appreciative of the many people who supported the cause online, the people who stopped along the road and the many local businesses for their support.

But it was his three friends he singled out in his final Facebook posting.

“With all my heart, thank you to Melissa Irish, Braydon Kellet and Danny Larsen for taking time out of their lives to do this unreal feat.”

Would he do it again?

“We were actually talking about that on the way back,” said Tyler. “And yes, I would, just maybe not next year.”


 

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At the finish line in Victoria Saturday family friend Pierre Campagne (left) and Braydon Luscombe (right) welcomed Penticton runners (left to right) Braydon Kellett, Melissa Irish, Tyler Luscombe and Danny Larsen. Photo courtesy of Adam Berke

Tyler Luscombe on the first leg of the fundraising run to Victoria for his brother Braydon. Mark Brett/Western News

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