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Father pulling 200 lbs sled across Ontario for cancer fundraiser

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Mike Duhacek is halfway through his gruelling trek from Owen Sound to Oakville, pulling a 200 lbs sled 200 kilometres across Ontario.

“It has been an absolute struggle, I’m not going to lie. But, the goodness out weights the challenges,” said the 45-year-old Elora native.

Duhacek left Owen Sound on Saturday, pulling behind him a 212 lb sled he made to signify the weight on the shoulders of the 250,000 Canadians expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.

He did something similar by walking from Windsor to Ottawa 10 years ago in honour of his mother, who at the time was battling stage four cancer.

“10 years later, my mom is a pillar of strength. She’s cancer free, and working behind the scenes on this event. For anybody that needs a little inspiration right now, you can look to that as a positive story. That the glass is half full, and we’re out there with them,” said Duhacek.

Mike Duhacek pulls a 212 lbs sled from Owen Sound, Ont. to Oakville, Ont. for the Help Me Bury Cancer fundraiser on Feb. 7, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

An avid runner, Duhacek said nothing could have prepared him for the physical toll the walk has taken on his body so far.

“My feet are ripped apart, now. As of last night, all the blisters split open. So, I’m dealing with that. I’ve got some moleskin on right now, some tape, and bandages, holding my feet together. My ankle is sore, my knees hurt, my shoulders are sore, but I’m still smiling,” he said.

With another 100 kilometres to go before reaching his Oakville finish line, Duhacek is tired, but hopeful. Which is what he’s trying to spread with his courageous trek with the weight of cancer literally dragging him down.

Mike Duhacek pulls a 212 lbs sled from Owen Sound, Ont. to Oakville, Ont. for the Help Me Bury Cancer fundraiser on Feb. 7, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“I build these relationships with people, standing on the side of the road, and hear their cancer stories, and show them that there are people out there fighting for them, and we’re on one team, and that they’re not alone,” he said.

Duhacek raised $43,000 for cancer research in his 900 km sled walk in 2013. This year, he hopes to reach $30,000, and so far, he’s raised almost $12,000.

You can learn more about Duhacek’s journey, by visiting the Help Me Bury Cancer website, where you can also follow him every step of the way, thanks to his GPS tracker. 

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