Sean Jacklin, 21, is riding his bicycle from coast to coast — 4,660 miles (7500 km) — in an effort to shine a light on a topic many people find difficult to talk about, raising awareness and funds for the hospice movement across Canada. As the second cyclist to organize a solo tour supporting end of life care, Sean knows it is hard to raise money for something no one likes to talk about.
“End-of-life care isn’t something you think about when you’re 21 and strong,” says Jacklin. “But now I realize it’s a very important program that flies under the radar and that’s what I’m hoping to change.”
Many hospices in Canada need donations to operate, with only half of their operating costs covered by the health-care system. The rest come through donations, mostly through estates or at the request of families who have benefitted from loved ones dying in such a dignified, caring environment.
Sean’s journey started in his hometown of Victoria, BC on June 5th and will end in September in St. Johns, Newfoundland with the goal of raising $50,000 for the Victoria Hospice Society. He had already raised $10,000 before leaving the province.
It wasn’t until Jacklin had committed to the ride that he discovered a personal connection. “My mom said, ‘You know, your Grandma Carey spent the last three weeks of her life in the Comox hospice” (north of Victoria).
Jacklin has received plenty of positive feedback during his 27 days on the road so far. “The support has been overwhelming. Having someone come up to you in tears, hold your hand, and say you’re doing a wonderful thing is the most rewarding feeling.”
WATCH the inspiring CTV video, and continue reading below…
Along the way, he’s accepting donations for any of the hospices across Canada, including the Victoria Hospice.
Jacklin stresses that the end goal is to raise funds, but the key by-product is the awareness of it all. “This subject should not be so taboo, it has touched and affected a high number of people, and it needs to be recognized. In Canada, 70% of all people who die from some form of terminal disease spend time in a hospice.”
Jacklin has faced many elements along the way and expects many more; however, he won’t give up. “To ride solo, unassisted, across Canada is a definite challenge that has me pushing the limits, but it’s more difficult to imagine someone spending the last weeks of their life without someone helping and comforting them.”
You can follow Sean’s Cycle of Life Tour on his Blog, and donate, at www.cycleoflifetour.ca