Gale force winds, heavy rain and icy sleet couldn’t stop Ryan Thirlwall’s Tutu Walk for Hope as he reached the Boys & Girls Club in Victoria after walking all night from Nanaimo.
Thirlwall’s 126 kilometre walk in a bright pink tutu and tights was an effort to raise money for a bullying awareness program through the Boys & Girls Club.
Shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday morning it started snowing as Thirlwall walked through the West Shore on the Trans-Canada Highway.
“We have started this in conditions that should have canceled or delayed this walk,” he shrugged. “So it’s only fitting that we see snow too.”
The Saanich man began his fundraising walk Monday morning in Nanaimo during a windstorm and plodded in the rain and cold through the Cowichan Valley and over the Malahat Drive.
“I am so sore, I am barely able to move. I have never done anything like this before,” Thirlwall said after walking for 25 hours, covering nearly 120 kilometres, and with still an hour or two left in his journey.
Tianna Metzger and Mike MacNeil, two members of Thirwall’s support crew or “Team Tutu,” walked the route with Thirwall. Metzger walked from Nanaimo to Duncan and then traded off with MacNeil who fished the route.
“Since we’ve gotten off the Malahat we’ve had 300 honks,” Thirlwall said on the highway near Thetis Lake. “Since we’ve left Nanaimo, it’s been great with lots of honks.”
On hour 27 of his trek, Thirlwall and a small entourage of supporters arrived at the Boys & Girls Club Yates Street office at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, soaked and worn out. He sat down and drank a coffee.
“He was right on time and his family arrived and his baby was here,” said Patti Sullivan, executive director of club services for Greater Victoria. “We we all awestruck, we are still awestruck. it was pretty awesome.”
Sullivan was grateful that Thirlwall was giving back to an organization that helped the 24-year-old during his teen years. At last count, he raised $1,600 in a day for the Boys & Girls Club anti-bullying program.
Donations for Thirwall’s Tutu Walk for Hope can be given directly to the Boys & Girls Club of Victoria either by calling 250-384-9133 or online at bgcvic.org, when donating specify the donation is for the Tutu Walk for Hope.