Step By Step is a charity established by George Marcello in 1996 In 1997, after receiving a life saving liver transplant, he started walking across Canada carrying the Torch of Life (12,000 km) to thank his anonymous donor On June 13 2000, he received the famous Torch Of Life by an anonymous donor On Septemeber 5 2001, he was asked to bring the Torch to Vatican City, where Pope John Paul II blessed it, and called organ & tissue donations a Genuine Act Of Love and wisely encouraged the young people to carry its message Since then, we have referred to our charity as the Torch of Life In 2004, our famous Kristopher Knowles, and thousands of young people from Canada & USA have championed the Torch through thousands of cities & towns in their respective communities. On March 2, 2012, twenty year old Khaled Khatib carried it through 72 cities & towns in Ontario He is presently the official Torch Bearer, preparing to carry it through Canada and the world We believe by having these young champions promote organ & tissue donations They can save lives & bring the world a little bit closer
Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four (by BBC)
Please don’t take your organs to Heaven,
God knows we need them here on earth
In 1997, after receiving a life saving liver transplant,
he started walking across Canada carrying the Torch of Life (12,000 km) to thank his anonymous donor
On June 13 2000, he received the famous Torch Of Life by an anonymous donor
On Septemeber 5 2001, he was asked to bring the Torch to Vatican City,
where Pope John Paul II blessed it, and called organ & tissue donations a
Genuine Act Of Love and wisely encouraged the young people to carry its message
Since then, we have referred to our charity as the Torch of Life
have championed the Torch through thousands of cities & towns in their respective communities.
He is presently the official Torch Bearer, preparing to carry it through Canada and the world
We believe by having these young champions promote organ & tissue donations
They can save lives & bring the world a little bit closer
Step By Step 8th Campaign TORCH OF LIFE
Reg Green & Ismail KhatibKhaled Khatib & Yael Gladstone
Two of the world’s most famous organ donor fathers joined forces in Canada on a humanitarian mission to boost our low rates of organ & tissue donation and to launch important proposed Ontario Bill
Both men have traveled around the world for organ donation since their sons were killed but this was the first time they met. Their stories, which captured the world’s imagination, show in the most dramatic way that, besides saving multiple lives, an organ donation can bring people together all over the world.
About Reg Green
One of the men is Reg Green, who lives in Los Angeles and whose seven-year-old son, Nicholas, was shot by masked men in southern Italy in an attempted robbery as the Green family drove along the main highway towards Sicily. Nicholas’ organs and corneas went to seven Italians, four of them teenagers. Since then organ donation rates in Italy have quadrupled, so that thousands of people are alive who would have died. Maggie Green, the mother, when asked by a reporter, what she would tell the killers, replied “When they see what they have done, I hope they will turn away from this kind of life.”
Famed Italian TV host Maurizio Costanza, said “Today we learned a lesson in civility.”
About Ismail Khatib
The other father is Ismail Khatib, a Palestinian, whose 12-year-old son, Ahmed, was shot in 2005 by an Israeli soldier who thought he had a gun. It turned out to be a toy gun. The Khatib family donated the boy’s organs to six Israelis, two (?) of them Jewish. Later Ismael opened the Ahmed Khatib Center for Peace in the Jenin refugee camp to provide children in the camp with an alternative to life on the streets.
On November 11 2011, Ismail left his 20 year old son Khald with George Marcello, and as he departed for home in Palestine, said please look after my son & have him spread the message of organ donations in Canada.
George crowned his newest Torch Bearer
On March 2 2012, Khaled began a four month, 72 city / town Torch Tour in Ontario. The name of this campaign was called Register Now Ontario, and Khaled spoke to thousands of students throughout the Province. He carried the Torch for a young Canadian girl that needed lung transplant and in memory of Mrs Betty Albrecht. Her husband MP Harold Albrect and his family carried out her wish to donate her organs, and lives were saved . On his last day in Toronto on June 19, 2012, he was joined by Helene Campbell and 20 year old Jewish Girl, Yael Gladstone, whose brother Yoni, was killed by a Palestinian Suicide Bomber, in Tel Aviv. Her family donated his kidney to a young Palestinian Girl. All 3 carried the Torch Of Life to the finish line at Queen’s Park. The Province of Ontario had a record year for Organ registration.
On February 5, 2013, Khaled began an 18 day, 500 kilometer walk marathon in the freezing dead part of the winter. He wanted to find a kidney transplant for his Canadian friend Anthony Socci.
Step By Step 7th Campaign SOSTHEAMERICAS
Phoenix ArizonaWilmington DelawarePittsburg PA March 2010
SOS THE AMERICAS
October 23, 2009 – April 14, 2010
October 19 2009 Press Conference
Step By Step organized its 7th Campaign, called SOS THE AMERICAS. George Marcello was following Pope John Paul 2’s wise words in seeking the youth carry on the message. The campaign started in Wasilla Alaska on October 23, 2009. There was high hopes that Governor Sarah Palin was going to kick this off by liting the Torch at Wasilla High School. We wanted to have Republicans, Democrats & Independants join together and set an inspirational tone to Americans. The Torch was carrid through Canada and entered the lower 48 States in Maine. The Torch continued through all the NE States and when it arrived in Washington DC, a premolition happened.
8th Campaign SOSTHEWORLD Million Student Torch Relay around the World 2011 - 2014
During our stop in Washington DC March 24 2010 under Step By Step’s, 7th Campaign SOS THE AMERICAS,
After 35,000 Thousand Miles & almost 10 Years since Pope John Paul II Blessed The Torch of Life,
The Torch arrived home @ Pope John Paul II Cultural Center and a new vision occured SOS THE WORLD
Our Truck Of Life Angels (Drivers)
Ist Driver Mr Terry Phillips Toronto, ON Canada
2nd Driver Mr Bob Fairbanks, Laconia, NH USA
3rd Driver Lt Charlie Lubowicki, Hamden, CT USA
4th Driver Mr Glenn Schroeder, East Haven CT USA
A couple of Torch Champions
Pittsburgh Student Jamaliah Beverly needs 3 organ transplant
Connecticut Baby Quinn recieves his heart
Favorite News Story
Favorite TV Story
Download this webpage
Alaska SOS THE AMERICAS Kickoff
Wasilla AK Day 1 Oct 23 2009
Anchorage AK Day 1 Oct 23 2009Canadian Cities Torch Relay
Vancouver BC to Montreal QC
November 2 - December 21 2009
Canada to USA Torch Relay
Toronto ON -Buffalo NY Day 98 Jan 30 2010Maine Events
Bangor ME Day 100 Feb 1 2010
Augusta ME Day 101 Feb 2 2010Vermont Events
Montpelier VT Day 103 Feb 4 2010New Hampshire Events
Concord NH Day 104 Feb 5 2010
Manchester NH Day 107 Feb 8 2010Massachussetts Events
Cambridge MA Day 109 Feb 9 2010
Boston MA Day 110 Feb 10 2010
Worcester MA Day 111 Feb 11 2010
Springfield MA Day 112 Feb 12 2010Rhode Island Events
Providence RI Day 114 Feb 15 2010
Warwick RI Day 116 Feb 17 2010Connecticut Events
Hamden CT Day 118 Feb 19 2010
Hartford CT Day 122 Feb 23 2010
East Haven Day 136 Mar 9 2010
Press ReleaseNew York Events
Rochester NY Day 124 Feb 25 2010
Buffalo NY Day 125 Feb 26 2010
New York NY Day 135 Mar 8 2010
Wilmington DE Day 141 Mar 15 2010
Dover DE Day 143 Mar 17 2010Maryland Events
Baltimore MD Day 145 Mar 19 2010
Annapolis MD Day 148 Mar 22 2010 Washington DC Events
Washington DC Day 150 Mar 24 2010
Washington DC Day 171 Apr 14 2010
Torch of Life inspires America - Feb - Mar 2010
In just 6 short weeks, during SOS THE AMERICAS, the Torch Of Life inspired countless Americans
By recruiting the Media, Public and all levels of Government,
Democrats, Republicans & Independants came together
(Click to see support letter)
Senator Arlen Specter (D) Pennsylvannia
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank George Marcello and Step By Step
for taking the Torch Of Life on a 12,000 mile journey”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) Rhode Island
“I know you’ve carried the Torch to RI and there’s a long road ahead, but I am certain
your passion and the enthusiasm will spark many others to this vital cause”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) New Hampshire
“We would like to invite you and Linda to a coffee reception with Senator Jeanne Shaheen, in her office”
Senator Jack Reed (D) Rhode Island
“Step By Step is also noteworty for its encouragement of student particapation
in the efforts to promote organ & tissue donations”
Senator Joseph I Lieberman (I) Connecticut
“Today’s Torch Trek participants represent Connecticutt and empowers
their local community and beyond”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D) Vermont
“ I was delighted to hear that students from my hometown of Montpelier were assisting Step By Step”
Senator Kirsten E Gillibrand (D) New York
“For over 12 years Step By Step has brought comfort to families in need of organ & tissue donations
” US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
Senator Christopher J Dodd (D) Connecticut
“Please accept my heartiest good wishes for continued success,
never doubt, you have made a difference”
Senator Susan Collins ® Maine
“Today we recognize the great work being done by Step By Step and Student Torch Champions”
Senator Mark Begich (D) Alaska
“I wish I could be there in person to cheer on the devoted young people”
Governor M Jodi Rell (D) Connecticut
“Whereas, I M. Jodi Rell proclaim Step By Step awareness week in Connecticutt”
Governor Edward G Rendell (D) Pennsylvannia
“As the Torch passed across Pennsylvannia, countless people became aware
of organ & tissue donations”
Governor Sean Parnell ® Alaska
“God speed as you carry the Torch of Life and the critical message”
Governor John Lynch (D) New Hampshire
“Thank you again for your service to those in need across our country”
Governor John E. Baldacci (D) Maine
“You are making valuable contributions to the health & welfare
of our communities across Maine”
Cambridge MA Proclamation for SOS THE AMERICAS
“Be it resovled we pass the resolution for George Marcello & Step By Step”
“I was particularly moved by Pope John Paul 2 and Step By Step”
US Senator Benjamin Cardin (MD)
Congressman James P McGovern(D) Massachusetts
“Thank you for all your dedication and coming to my hometown”
US Rep James McGovern (MA)
Congressman Peter Welch (D) Vermont
“I want to celebrate your tireless efforts, your journey is inspiring”
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) Maine
“I read with much interest how the Torch started with Victor Davis,
and then Kristopher” US Rep Chellie Pingree (ME)
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D) New Hampshire
“Congradulations to Mr George Marcello for starting Step By Step
and inspiring people around the world”
State Senator Bettye Davis (D) Alaska
Mayor Dan Sullivan Anchorage Alaska
Mayor Vern E. Rupright ® Wasilla, Alaska
Senator Olympia Snowe ® Maine
Congressman Mike Michaud (D) Maine
Governor Jim Douglas ® Vermont
Mayor Ted Gatsas Manchester NH
Mayor Joseph C O'Brien Worcester MA
Mayor Domenic J Sarno Springfield MA
Congressman James R Langevin (D) Rhode Island
Mayor David N Cicillini (D) Providence Rl
Governor Jack Markell (D) Delaware
Mayor Carleton E Carey Sr (I) Dover DE
Download: JPG, PDF
Step By Step 6th Campaign SOS4000
October 1 2007 – June 11 2008
Over 100 students from cities across Canada were selected to carry the Torch Of Life in their community. Their tasks also included public speaking, media interviews and photo ops with dignitaries. These were students that Kristopher Knowles inspired during his campaign. They were part of his army and part of the vision that Pope John Paul 2 passed on to George Marcello during the Canada 769 Day Walk. These Students were organ & tissue ambassadors, they were the SOS4000 Student Torch Champions and the passionate voice for an entire nation. They also set the stage for future countries to do this kind of campaign; thus SOS THE AMERICAS. His Honour Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley wanted to hear about every Student Torch Champion and received the following dairy from as Mr. Marcello As he was going from Community to Community Mr. Marcello would send his dairy to his Honour on a weekly basis.
Videos across Canada 2007-2008
The Planning Events
Newfoundland Events - Oct 1-13 2007
Nova Scotia Events - Oct 13-28 2007
Prince Edward Island Events - Oct 29-31 2007
New Brunswick Events - Nov 1-21 2007
Quebec Events - Nov 22 - Dec 22 2007
Ontario Events - Jan 8-17 2008
Ontario Events - Feb 1-Apr 1 2008
Manitoba Events - Apr 7-9 2008
Saskatchewan Events - Apr 10-18 2008
Alberta Events - Apr 21 - May 7 2008
British Columbia Events - May 5 - Jun 7 2008
Yukon Events - Jun 9-10 2008
Northwest Territories Events - Jun 11-13 2008
Post CANADA SOS4000 Events - Jun-Oct 2008
April 26 2007: Announcing SOS4000
We hold a Press Conference at Queens Park and announce that Step By Step is constructing its 6th Campaign called SOS4000.
June 13 2007: In memory of Victor Davis
Step By Step in partnership with Toronto Police Services invite Greg Davis, to officially lite the Torch Of Life in his brother, Victor Davis’s memory.
September 25, 2007: Lieutenant Governor David Onley Kick Off SOS400
Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley hosts Step By Step’s 6th Campaign SOS4000. This was his Honour David Onley’s first function as Lieutenant Governor. At this event he presented awards to Step By Step’s Board Of Directors, Sponsors, Media, & Students. Lieutenant Governor David Onley was the wind behind the SOS4000 Campaign’s back.
Dairy begins for Lt Gov David Onley
September 26 2007: Columbus Centre Fundraiser
We held a small fundraiser and celebrated Step By Step’s 10th Anniversary at the Columbus Centre in Toronto. This event also served as an emotional sendoff for Lou, Kristopher and I
September 27 2007: 3 day drive to St John’s Newfoundland
After a night of packing, we set off in our SOS4000 Vehicle (a 1999 Windstar Van). The vehicle was wrapped the night before in a very nice artistic design of our campaign. Our first day destination was Edmundston NB. This was a 13 hour drive. Young Kristopher was excited to be back on the road and this was Lou’s first time doing the Road Manager thing and he was probably even more excited then Kris. The former Road Managers William Adie and Joe Camara were telling Lou horror stories about the road, the night before. I don’t think Lou believed them, because he was pumped.
September 28, 2007
We arrived in North Sydney late in the evening. The bad news was that we missed the ferry, so we had to wait till the next morning to catch the next one. The good news is that the next morning I met my good friend and former MLA Brian Young while having breakfast. This was a great omen, because I had a chance to recruit Brian to join us when the Torch arrives in Sydney. Brian sadly lost his daughter Carmen while waiting for a heart transplant and I mentioned that we would carry the Torch that day in her memory.
September 29 2007
The ferry was rescheduled to depart in the afternoon, this was bad because I would loose almost 2 days of arrival in St. Johns NL. The captain of the ferry was notified of our presence and he kindly gave us a royal tour of the ship. (I attached pictures). The captain warned us not to travel at night when we docked in Newfoundland because this was moose season and they were notorious to wander on the highways at dusk and dawn. Usually when you hit a moose, it is very fatal to drivers, unless you are traveling with a big rig that is reinforced at the front. The plan was to drive that night behind a rig.
As we were approaching Cornerbrook, on a dark highway, ahead of us was a lot of lights. Every instinct told me that a moose was hit, so I prayed no one was hurt. We pulled off to the shoulder to see if we can help. I brought my camcorder with me as a habit. Thank god no one was hurt, although there was a huge moose on the side of the road, bloated and dead. The truck that hit it was reinforced and still his whole front was smashed in. I started recording and asked the trucker if I could interview him. I told what we were doing and mentioned that we are also putting together a film documentary on our voyage. He was a Newfoundlander and as most Newfoundlander I met he was `more than glad to oblige. I got footage that night and we when I got back to the hotel, I couldn’t wait to play it back. What a disappointment I faced, the disc got corrupted, up to this day, I am grieving over this.
September 30 2007
We arrived finally in St. Johns, the night before the big kickoff. It seemed like a really long ride. Lou kept us entertained with his Christopher Walken impressions during the way and it helped because he kept me and Kris laughing. He does a pretty good impression.
SOS4000 Campaign Begins
October 1 2007,St. Johns NL KICKOFF
We gathered at Confederate building for our big kickoff at 8:30 am. My good friend and former MLA Member Doug Cole was the Emcee for this event. I finally met with the St John Torch Champion Samantha Elton-Taite. She was absolutely incredible. Her passion inspired everyone as she received the Torch from Kris and said her speech. We devoted this day to Andrew Hatfield who sadly lost his life waiting for a heart transplant. There was great support from her school Bishops College, the community and the media. It was a day that left everyone feeling good and set the stage for the magic that lay ahead of us. Doug invited us to his charming restaurant in Portugal Cove, a beautiful Oceanside community and also the best meals in the area. This is the type of location; I would stay in to write a book someday.
October 2 2007, Gander NL, Day 2
Samantha, her girlfriend Amanda and her mom came with us that evening to Gander. Samantha was going to pass the Torch to the Gander Torch Champion Erin Penton. They were so excited the entire 3 hour ride.
October 3, 2007, Gander NL
Today was an event day and we found out that our Rogers cells were without signal for the rest of Newfoundland. We had a wonderful surprise waiting for us that morning. Premier Danny Williams was staying at the same hotel and he wanted to wish us well, so a very nice meeting was arranged. I really like Premier Williams. We all gathered at the Gander Town Hall that morning. Mr. Derm Flynn, tourist director organized the activities that day. St. John’s Torch Champion Samantha was really excited to meet Gander’s Torch Champion Erin Penten. It was such a pleasure to see them meet and the electricity was felt by everyone when Samantha passed the Torch to Erin. Erin carried the Torch proudly to her school Gander High School. It was amazing to see these students walking and talking and being alike in many ways, yet having very different approaches to organ and tissue donations. The day ended on a very positive yet kind of sad note, because we had to see Samantha and her guests off at the bus terminal
October 4, 2007, Gander-Grand Falls/Windsor NL
Today was what I liked to call a pro bono day. On these days we go to local businesses and we try and get in kind contributions. A restaurant chain in the Maritimes called Jungle Jims had agreed to feed us throughout 20 of their locations. Hotels, usually Choice Hotels were helping us with accommodations. Other things like health and office needs were pursed at department stores. Sometimes these tasks become wearisome, but when you travel with a low budget and determined to reach the other end it is basically survival. That night we arrived in Grand Fall-Windsor and again we were in for a very a pleasant surprise waiting for us at Jungle Jims. Irish Dancing Star Don McCarron from Lord of the Dance dined with us and afterwards gave us a stunning performance of dancing
October 5, 2007, Grand Falls/Windsor NL
Today was an event day. Grand Falls/Windsor Torch Champion Marcus Hicks met with us at the Town Hall with students from Exploits Valley High School. Marcus ran with the Torch to his school. The principal had arranged a great reception combing their yearly Thanksgiving ceremonies with our campaign. It was very moving to hear the speeches and feel grateful to what we have.
October 6, 2007, Grand Falls/Windsor – Cornerbrook NL
Today was another Pro Bono day and email day. I take every opportunity that I can to work on the future events with the internet. On our way to Cornerbrook, I fell asleep during the ride and woke up to loud noise. Lou was yelling Moose, Moose. A gigantic moose was on the road and made its way to the side. I do not know exactly why, but my first instinct was to film this. Maybe because I was still grieving that I lost the earlier footage. Anyways I grabbed my video camera and jumped out of the car. I heard the roar of big coming and then all of a sudden the moose was gone. I was not sure whether I was successful in my filming. I got back in the car and reviewed the footage and there it was, a big beautiful moose in my camera. I am not sure what this has to do with our mission to save lives, but boy did I feel good. We arrived at Marble Mountain Resort where our accommodation were arranged. This area was almost as breathtaking as Whistler and Banff. This day was going to good and I knew another bump was ahead of us. Sure enough I find out that we have very limited internet and I had planned to a lot of work that weekend. Oh well, the lack of work gave me an excuse to enjoy the beauty around me.
October 7 & 8 2007, Cornerbrook NL
These 2 days we tried to take nature in. Kris and Lou needed the rest as well, because we were moving at hectic pace for almost 2 weeks. We met with the Cornerbrook Torch Chaampions, 3 of them Tansey Lubar, Sasha Fisher & Alexandra Arruda the night before the event.
October 9, 2007, Cornerbrook- Ferry to North Sydney
Today was event day. The Students ran from Marble Mountain to their school. We spent the entire afternoon with the students after they arrived a great reception at Cornerbrook High School. That evening we drove to Channel Port Aux Bsques to catch the late evening ferry to North Sydney. We were supposed to do an event in Port Aux Basques on October 10, but they cancelled out and I had to make some new major plans.
Nova Scotia Tour
October 10 & 11 2007, Sydney NS
We brought our vehicle to a mechanic, because it did not sound right. We received real bad news after the car went through a diagnostic check up. Our 1999 Ford Windstar needed a new transmission among other things. I did not have the funds to repair the vehicle and Ford would not Pro Bono it. I had to make some serious decisions. I decided to rail the vehicle back to Toronto when we reach Halifax on October 19 and fly Lou back and see if he can work on the car or get another one. Kris and I would continue traveling without a vehicle after Halifax. Kris has a lot of spirit and heart, so I am not worried about him.
October 12, 2007, Sydney NS
Today was event day and Delta Hotel was kind enough to hold the Press Conference for us. Sydney Torch Champions Tracey Martin and Kirsten LeBlanc arrived so did Brian Young. Despite our predicament the SOS4000 road put on positive faces and walked to Holy Angels under the memory of Carmen Young, Brian’s daughter. I am very optimistic about everything ahead of us. There is a straight forward mission we have to accomplish, and that is to bring the Torch to over 100 eager Students.
October 15, 2007, Port Hawkesbury, NS
Today Strait Area High School arranged a moving assembly under the memory of student and Junior B Hockey Player Jeremy Tucker, who passed away in May 2007, and 6 people are alive today as a result of his organs being donated. Port Hawkesbury Torch Champion Colton Carroll carried the flame proudly.
October 17, 2007, Pictou County, NS
Today has been the most moving event thus far after hearing one of the Torch Champion speak. I attached the press release that went out as a result of this student’s passion.
14 year old Torch Relay Student from Nova Scotia wants to go that extra mile by becoming a live organ donor
Ashley Griffin, Susie Billington & Courtney Greencorn
Amazing story of Courtney Greencorn
On September 25, 2007 the SOS4000 road team and some Student Torch Champions were a given a memorable royal sendoff at Queens Park by Ontario’s new Lieutenant Governor David Onley.
On October 1, 2007, in St. John’s Newfoundland, the first Student Torch Champion Samantha Elton Taite proudly carried the Torch of Life and kicked off an eight month campaign across Canada.
Since then Students have passionately carried the Torch to inspire our nation about the importance of organ and tissue donation and to help save over 4000 Canadians that desperately need these precious gifts. One particular Student that is anxiously waiting to carry the Torch wants to go that extra mile and become a live organ donor. Her name is Courtney Greencorn and she is one of Trenton Nova Scotia’s Torch Champion(s).
On October 17, Ashley, Courtney & Susie will receive the Torch at the Museum of Industry in Stellarton. Canada has one of the lowest rates of organ donations in the world, maybe one person can inspire an entire nation.
On October 19, Courtney brought her quest to change the legal age of becoming a live organ donor from 18 to 16 to Nova Scotia Legislative building.
October 19, 2007,Halifax, NS
Today was a real roller coaster. NDP MLA Maureen MacDonald hosted the event at the Legislative building. We all watched Courtney passionately make her plea in trying to change the legal age of becoming a live donor from 18 to 16 and after she passed the Torch to Halifax Torch Champion Nathan MacDonald.
The next day Lou had to drive the SOS4000 vehicle back to Toronto to get fixed. It was just me and Kris. I walked to Pier 21 that day and reflected on the day my parents arrived on a ship that docked into this port. They came with a dream and worked very hard to achieve it. I knew Kris and I were going to make it.
October 22, 2007, Liverpoole, NS
Kris and I arrived by bus in Liverpoole. Trius Tours Buses agreed to give us free rides along the way. The day started very empty, because there was no real enthusiasm to greet us. I accepted that we get days like this. My focus was in bringing the Torch right to the end June 20 2008 in Nunavut. My feelings are secondary, and I have to remember that at times like this. Suddenly, I received a phone call that made my day. It was legendary Rock and Roller Bobby Curtola. He has a house in Liverpoole and happened to be in town that day. We met with him and his manager Robert Hubbard for lunch at Valentino’s restaurant. Within 5 minutes of meeting them, Bobby told us he was donating his van to us to use for the rest of the journey. Wow. And to top it off we are eating pure Calabrese/Italian food in this very small Nova Scotian community. Wow. The owners of this restaurant Val and Joanne Acocella, were shocked that we received no reception in their community and asked us to revisit their community in 2 days. They wanted to give us a real welcome.
October 23, 2007, Yarmouth, NS
We had a great reception with Yarmouth High School. Torch Champions Aaron and Taylor Doucette ran with the Torch to Jungle Jims. The brothers are potential Olympic runners and displayed their skills running with the Torch.
October 24, 2007, Truro & Amherst NS
We had to cover two cities in one day, thank god we had a vehicle. Truro Torch Champions Rose Fisher and Alex Visser Waterman relayed the Torch to Amherst Torch Champion Nicole Boudreau. Kris is getting real good at becoming a mentor to these students. During Kristopher’s Wish, he was the star and it is not easy to let go of all that stardom. He is handling this quite well.
October 25, 2007, Liverpoole, NS
We arrive back in Liverpoole to a great reception. It was amazing what Joanne Acocella put together in 2 days.
October, 26,27, &28, Amherst, NS
These were no event days; I had a lot of paperwork to catch up with. I had a lot of work to do in the Province Of Quebec. This is very difficult for me because my French is poor; I am starting to worry about the amount of activity in that province
Prince Edward Island Tour
October 29, 2007, Summerside PE
Gordon Marfarlane, a liver recipient and City Hall administrator arranged our activities and was the MC. Torch Champions Taylor Stright, Stephannie Ellis, and Mikayla Clow carried the Torch. We had found out that there was no retrieval centre in PEI and this was an issue. We were asked to bring this up with Premier Guiz when we meet with him in Charlottetown. I am not as vocal as I was in previous campaigns, but sometimes you just can’t ignore things that should be brought up. So I decided to inform the Premier about this before our actual Press Conference.
October 30, 2007, Charlottetown, PE
I woke up and looked at my emails, and that is how the amazing story of Tracey Arsenault began. We had received great news coverage from CBC TV the day before and Tracey who was raised in Charlottetown lives in Ottawa received the news from family in PEI. You see on Prince Edward Island there have been only 2 organ donors in the last 7 years and Tracey Arsenault’s mother died in April 2007 and she was one of them. Tracey explained that she seen our news coverage and was determined to share her story. Please see her letter to us. I phoned Premier Guiz’s office to inform that I would be making this recommendation. They were appreciative that I phoned
October 31, 2007, Charlottetown, PE
We all met at the Legislative Building and everyone was informed to that we were devoting the day to the memory of Norma Arsenault. Student Torch Champion Vanessa Mackinnon was very honoured to be carrying the Torch for Norma. At the Press Conference, Premier Guiz was very receptive to the recommendation, as well Charlottetown Rural High School and the entire community.
New Brunswick Tour
November 2, 2007, Moncton, NB
We made it to New Brunswick. Many thanks go to Moncton Tourism for helping us out. It was great to see Motivational Speaker and organ recipient Mark Black again. Mark accompanied the Moncton Torch Champion Kim Reade, who happened to be his niece. We had a great event that day and we had a surprise waiting for us at Creek Restaurant. I met the owner Giles Maltais who provided all the meals for Kris and I and he has organized events for the Yanick Degrace Foundation. I was completed surprised, cause I was preparing to carry the Torch under Yanick’s memory when we reach Shippigan NB. Yanick was a Philadelphia Flyer Goaltender. On his way home in 2001, he died in a car accident and his family donated his organs. He also told me that Yanick’s Father and Mother were in Moncton visiting. Wow this was amazing; I showed Gile all our media articles with the Degrace Family. I first heard about Yanick when I was walking across Canada in 2001. Giles was speechless and overwhelmed with this.
We met with Jean-Camille and Yvette that evening at Creeks and shared some emotional stories. It was great to spend time with Tina who was the manager. She also happened to be one of the few Italian Maritimers. You can see the amazing story of Yanick under attachments.
November 5, 2007, Saint John, NB
Another amazing story was about to develop as we arrived in Saint John. I was informed that the Saint John Torch Champion Mary Jane McAfee had a sister that died in 1984 on almost the same day that Mary was carrying the Torch. Rachel Jayne McAfee was 6 months old and her organs were donated after she died and so on this day Mary Jane carried the torch for her sister. It was an emotional day for the entire city.
November 7, 2007, St. Stephen, NB
St Stephen Student Torch Champions Ethan Toumishey and Alicia Chase carried the Torch. The day was a little laid back; we were still overwhelmed by the previous days. We had a great time getting some thoughts and feelings from Ethan and Alicia. We need days like this to catch up on our emotions, and share them with these beautiful students.
November 8, 2007, Oromocto, NB
Many thanks go to Tracey Lewis from Jungle Jims for making fantastic arrangements for Oromocto. She managed to get all the soldiers from the Oromocto army to walk with Oromocto Student Torch Champion Morgan Cogswell. We got great footage with Morgan carrying the Torch and all the soldiers walking behind her.
November 9, 2007, Fredericton, NB
We were anxious to come to Fredericton to meet our longtime friend Lloyd Sutherland. Lloyd met me in 2001 as I was walking across Canada during Xmas time. I was all alone at the time, and I was looking for a driver for the next 2 weeks. Lloyd noticed me at my booth at Regent Mall and sign displaying Urgent Driver Needed!!!
Lloyd volunteered and also invited me to his family for a great Christmas Dinner at that time. We also were impressed with the reception that Fredericton Student Torch Champion Jonathan Daigle received from his school Leo Hayes High School and the fantastic Police Escort from the city. It was the biggest yet. Jonathan is a very popular boy. Another memorable event was having breakfast on Remembrance Day with longtime Liberal MP Andy Wells and Lloyd Sutherland. Mr. Wells is well known for tackling issues such as ours. Our meeting was to brainstorm some ideas on how we can build a National committee of politicians, media, dignitaries and the public with enough clout to get some real action going. There are many of these individuals across that would fit in perfect for this venture.
We left on a very positive note. Lloyd is taking care of the New Brunswick government.
November 12, 2007, Miramichi, NB
Miramichi Torch Katie Matheson carried Torch through the first blizzard. She courageously plowed through to a warm reception at Miramichi Valley High School
November 14, 2007, Shippigan, NB
We finally arrived to Sippigan and meet once again our good friends Jean-Camille & Yvette Degrace. Our story with this family has become a legacy. Shippigan chose Maxime Duguay to be the Student Torch Champion. During our speeches it was very emotional, Yanick was a true hero in our these parts as Maxime carried the Torch for him
November 16, 2007, Bathurst, NB
The Torch continued to be carried for Yanick. Bathurst Student Torch Champions Kirstin Meagher & Janna White were walking side by side with Jean-Camille & Yvette and a picture of Yanick. It was a rainy day but they managed like champs as they arrived to a great reception at their school Bathurst High School
November 19, 2007, Campbellton, NB
Sugarloaf Senior High School chose Amy Sturgeon to carry the Torch through Campbellton with her friends by her side. Amy arrived at school to a beautiful reception.
November 21, 2007, Edmundston, NB
St. Mary’s Academy chose Joshua Levesque to be Edmundston Torch Champion. From Edmundston City Hall to his school, Joshua ran with the Torch and arrived to a standing ovation at school. Joshua’s mom cried as she displayed her happiness for her son
November 26, 2007, Rivieres du Loup, QC
Coordinator and Teacher Lucie Dumont was full of enthusiastic as she proudly displayed Rivieres du Loup Student Torch Champion Josianne Sirois. Josianne and her 2 assistants Jean-Philippe and Francis are embarking on an ambitious project. They are building a web site that will reach every school in the Province of Quebec. At the Press Conference, the web site was shown in front of many dignitaries and media including the Majority opposition leader Mario Dumont
November 27, 2007, Quebec City, QC
We arrived in Quebec City with a lot of wind behind us and we were so excited with our city. Arrangements were made by my friend Catherine at the National Assembly. At the Assembly, she arranged for our group which included (the Degrace family, Lucy Dumont, Rivieres du Loup Torch Champion Josianne Sirois and Quebec City Torch Champions Timothy-Robinson Trudel and Simone Raynaud) to meet with separately with the Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard, and opposition health critics Eric Caire and Louise Harel. Each meeting we stressed the importance of organ and tissue donations driving home the point that more needed to be done. During the Torch lighting ceremonies at the front steps, something historic happened, all three members from each party together lit the Torch vowing to do more for this issue and 15 minutes earlier they were fighting like cats and dogs in the house. They passed the torch to Quebec City Torch Champions Timothy-Robinson Trudel and Simone Raynaud. We had a great police escort from the city as the students marched to their schools.
November 30, 2007, Sherbrooke, QC
Earlier in the campaign we started to worry that we would have that much activity in the Province of Quebec. Boy was I wrong. It was simply unbelievable what they had prepared in Sherbrooke by the staff at Seminaire Salesien school. Linda Lemay, Julie Tremblay and all the rest of the staff. They were all behind the Sherbrooke Student Torch Champion Vincent Desbiens as he carried the Torch to the Garden of Life. The Garden of Life is a beautiful monument with all the names of organ/tissue donors in Quebec. This walk was very emotional because Vincent was on the waiting list for a kidney and he was joined by two students, brothers. Michael Morisette had received a kidney by his older brother Anthony.
December 3, 2007, Drummundville, QC
In Drummondville, they had to cancel because they did not have enough time, but wanted to get involved next. This was only the second community that had to cancel out. We had more time to catch up enormous amount of work in front of us.
December 5, 2007, Victoriaville, QC
Victoriaville Student Torch Champion Mathieu Landry Cote carried the Torch proudly from the City Hall to his school Polyvalente L Boise School. Many thanks go to staff member Aline Martine
December 7, 2007, Trois Rivieres, QC
We were again excited to meet a longtime friend in Trois Rivieres Yves Joubert.
Yves is a Sun Life representative and since 2001, Yves has helped us organize many activities in the Province of Quebec, and again he organized a great campaign. I also was glad to meet once again Francis Roy and Mayor Levesque. These are people who put a big smile on your face when you meet them. The Trois Rivieres Student Torch Champion Charles Legace carried the Torch from City Hall to his school Ste Ursule de E’cole Secondaire.
December 10, 2007, Shawinigan, QC
During our time in Quebec, we had been receiving a lot of news coverage, and we met many people that recognized our campaign. One lady in particular was very determined to meet us. Marie-Claude Pronovost shared her sad story with us. Her daughter Nathalie Rousseau passed away a few months ago while waiting for a lung/heart transplant. It seemed very hard for Madame Pronovost to put closure and trying to understand why her daughter had to die. I agreed to meet with Madame Pronovost and after I met with her we decided to carry the Torch for Nathalie. I also made arrangements for her to talk to the students at Shawingan High School during our event there. Shawingan Student Torch Champions Jordane Bourassa and Alex Dezeil deserve praise as they carried the Torch for Nathalie and comforted Madame Pronovost. After Madame Pronovost shared her story with the students, she was comforted by them the dignitaries that attended the event. Nathalie was with all of us that day
December 12, 2007, Sorel-Tracy, QC
Sorel-Tracy Student Torch Champion Marc Antoine Farly was joined by the drama club as they carried the Torch. They arrived to a play at their school Fernand Lefebvre High School. We got great footage that day
December 14, 2007, St. Hyacinthe, QC
It was in this community, St.Hyacinthe, in 1996 that I experienced the vision to create Step By Step. So it was a day of reflection. It was also a day to try help save the life of a 2 year old girl Zoe Bernard. Zoe was in a Montreal hospital waiting for a heart transplant. Isabelle Gendron from the Diane Hubert Foundation had alerted me about Zoe. St. Hyacinthe Student Torch Champion Paul-Emile Senecal carried the Torch for Zoe. As Paul-Emile carried the Torch, I was on the phone with mother of Zoe Catherine As we spoke I mentioned that the Torch was presently being carried for Zoe. Catherine cried with emotion, thanking us. I added that we would bring the Torch to Zoe the day before the event
December 16, 2007, Montreal, QC
Today was the day we were going to see Zoe and the family at St Justine Hospital and I woke up very sick. My chest was on fire and I had no voice. The forecasted Snowstorm arrived and the streets were terrible. We could not let Zoe down. Our plan was to drive there slowly and have Kris bring the Torch up to Zoe. I mentioned to the family that I did not want to take the chance of spreading germs. Kris did a fantastic job
December 17, 2007, Montreal, QC
Montreal was our last stop for the first half of SOS4000. Our minds were on Zoe and the family. We were witnessing one of the biggest snowstorms in the history of Montreal. I had a terrible chest cold, and I was getting calls from the school and the Mayor’s Office to see if we were calling it off. We reassured everyone that we were going to continue the event. All schools were closed and yet the Montreal Student Torch Champions Katia Habra and Louise-Philippe Savaria were determined to do it as well as fellow students and their Principal Dominique Delhaes. The Mayor’s office was also prepared to do their part. Mayor Gerald Tremblay is one of my favourite people and I was glad he was on board with us. I also need to thank the Quality Suites for helping out in many ways, including getting our car started when it failed as we were bringing the Torch to the students. It was extremely cold that day and if you had to dial your cell phone, you couldn’t because your fingers would freeze. The spirit that we all had was amazing as the Students carried the Torch for Zoe in this miserable weather. We received good media coverage and as usual, Mayor Tremblay was great. We know we cannot guarantee to save Zoe’s life but we can try and give comfort and hope.
December 18, 2007, Driving back to Toronto
As we were driving back to Toronto, Kris and I started reflecting on the entire campaign. We had a lot of challenges and mountains to climb but we did it. Kris did an amazing job, I am very proud of him. He had to overcome many things and it was great seeing him mature before my very eyes. I was very sick and I knew I took a beating and I was going to pay for it and I would do it all over again. I also do not have any regrets in mortgaging my house to do this campaign. It is going to be a real challenge to try meet the payments as I try to finish the rest of the campaign. For now I am going to try and shake this infection and get ready to continue the second half of this campaign by starting out in Ottawa on January 8 2008. We plan to have to have members from all 4 parties unite with this issue by having all of them hold the Torch
December 18, 2007-January 7 2008, Toronto, ON
I promised that during this entire campaign I would bring the Torch Of Life to every single community that was on our entire schedule. So when I came down with that terrible chest cold in Montreal, which turned out to be pneumonia I could not ask for a better time to get really sick. When we finished the first half of our campaign from St John’s to Montreal, we started heading back to Toronto to spend the holidays. Kristopher went back to Sarnia so he could complete his final school year and I had to rush to the hospital. I was in really bad shape, I passed out in Wal Mart and my friend Fernando brought me to the hospital. I was given very strong antibiotics and was to told to rest or else. So God works in mysterious ways, I was sick in bed for the entire holidays, knowing that I had to go back on the road January 7 2008 to begin the second half of the campaign. So I was still recovering as I made my way to Ottawa.
January 8 2008, Ottawa, ON
I could not miss Ottawa, no matter how sick I was. We had planned a magnificent event that today. I arrived at Immaculata High School, where I met the Principal Mr. Tom Damico. Tom had helped out with Kristopher’s Wish and many other things. Along with Tom were Ottawa Student Torch Champions Nicole Parent and Simon Sweeney. Also Tracey Arsenault was there. If you remember she lost her mom in Charlottetown and donated her organs. We were also greeted by MP Paul Dewar. We started the Torch run by talking to all the students, and then Nicole and Simon made their way to Parliament Hill. Waiting for Nicole and Simon were MP members from all the parties. Liberal MP Mauril Bellanger, PC MP Royal Galipeau and NDP MP Paul Dewar, QB sent regrets. Together the Members all held the Torch to represent unity for organ donations. This was a very proud and positive signal to all Canadians. Nicole and Simon did a great job and it was hearting to hear Tracey talk about her Mom’s legacy. Nothing was going to stop me from bringing the Torch to Ottawa.
January 9 2008, Ottawa-Belleville
I was on the first of what was going to be many Greyhound bus rides along the rest of the campaign. Unfortunately Greyhound did not want to help with my fare as a way of support. From here on I had to do some fancy footwork on how I would arrive at all the events and activities across Canada with no vehicle and travelling alone
January 10, 2008, Belleville ON
I arrived at Belleville City Hall to meet Mayor Neil R Ellis and Belleville Student Torch Champions Rachel Deline, Colton Kemp & Catrina Davis. It was great to see the kid’s families there as well. They were so proud to see their kids holding the Torch with Mayor Ellis. As I kept saying at beginning this campaign is for the kids as well, to brighten up their life taking part in this exciting campaign. They relayed the Torch all way 12 kilometers to their school Bayside Secondary School like true champs
January 14, 2008, Newmarket ON
I arrived to Newmarket City Hall with our Step By Step Chairperson Ojo Tewogbade. We met with MPP Frank Klees, who by the way has been a very ardent supporter of our campaign and a lot of credit goes to his assistant Alex Roman. We also met with Mayor Tony Van Bynen and of course Newmarket Student Torch Champion Amber Blanchet. We had an excellent police escort from York’s finest all the way through Vaughan to Toronto. Amber arrived at her school to a thunderous reception at her school Newmarket High School
January 15, 2008, Richmond Hill-Vaughan ON
I arrived at Bayview Secondary School in Richmond Hill and Newmarket Student TC Amber Blanchet was there to relay the Torch to Richmond Hill Student TC Elizabeth Rowley in front of another cheering crowd. Elizabeth ran with the Torch and arrived at Vaughan City Hall where Mayor Linda Jackson and Vaughan Students Torch Champions Leanna DiNardo and Thomas Raso were there to receive the Torch from Elizabeth. Leanna & Thomas ran with the Torch to their school St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School.
January 16, 2008, Toronto, ON
The day started with Vaughan Student Torch Champion Leanna and Thomas carrying the Torch early that morning from their school in Vaughan all the way to Jane and Finch. Toronto Student TC Veniece Lindsay and other students were waiting at the school Westview Centennial Secondary School. This school has had some very trying and challenging times recently with gangs, drugs and shootings. Today we talked to the students about representing Toronto with their heads up high. We talked about how hope and positive action can overcome negativity and tragedy. We had a great Toronto Police Escort as the students made their way carrying the Torch from Jane and Finch to Queen’s Park. The students were magnificent handing out organ donor cards and talking to the public about organ donations. Ojo, Veniece and I had the pleasure of arriving at Queen’s Park to meet you. We were all very excited especially Veniece. Thank you for meeting with us and sorry that we had to leave. We had to join the group as they made their way to Queen’s Park. We had the opportunity to once again unite the parties. Premier McGuinty organized a press conference and agreed to MPP Frank Klees and Peter Kormos join him in receiving the Torch of Life together with Veniece. This was a profound moment because an important debate would follow regarding revising the Ontario organ system. We then continued to Toronto General Hospital and gathered at the Tree of Life where Toronto Police Chaplain delivered a powerful sermon on Organ Donation. We ended the very long day at City Hall meeting with Mayor David Miller who has been a great supporter of our campaigns in previous years. Also joining us was Patti Letourneau, the wife of Brian Freeman who needed a liver transplant back in September 2007. Patti shared her story about Brian at our press conference after our historic launch hosted by your honour. Patti shared the wonderful news that Brian received his liver and was doing well.
January 17, 2008, Mississauga, ON
I arrived at Mississauga City Hall and was greeted by the Castillo Family. Today was a long awaited day; the Torch was being carried in the memory of their son Manny Castillo. Mississauga Student Torch Champions and Rugby players Lawrence McGivern, Mark Kovacevic, Dylan McTavish & their coach Pete Mashinter with tears in their eyes were prepared to carry the Torch for their teammate and buddy Manny. As they made their way to the school Lorne Park Secondary School, they were joined by the entire Rugby team and they all chanted their team’s song very loud. This was so emotional to witness. We all arrived at the school to a great barbecue and took a tour in school remembering this was all for Manny.
January 18-31, 2008, Toronto, ON
During this time the schools were busy with exams until February 1 2008. I was facing a personal financial challenge. In order to prepare this campaign and execute it I had to mortgage my house and loan $60,000.00 to the cover the expenses. Global TV actually did a big news story on this. They followed up by asking the Health Minister George Smitherman asking him if he would help out. His response was for me to put in an application. This was soon after the Premier praised the work that we did for the past 10 years in the Press Conference at Queen’s Park. I did not want to make my financial matter public at this time cause it was about a great day, watching a troubled school send its students to make the city proud. So after the event I asked the Premier’s advisors, if there was anything that the province can do to give me a hand with the campaign. After a week, it was apparent that they were not eager to respond to this. I was out of funds that month, and I would start falling behind with possible foreclosure on the house, so I had to something, because I was determined to continue campaign. After praying about I held a press conference at Queen’s Park to let the public know of my present plight. This was very hard for me to do, and Cst. Ojo was beside me supporting this quest. The rest of the campaign is going to cost about another 50,000.00 in expenses and I battling to pay this month’s mortgage. I had to beg many people to help out for the time being. In the meantime, I had to continue with the campaign
February 1, 2008, Hamilton ON
I arrived in Hamilton in another snowstorm at City Hall. Mayor Fred Eisenberger was there with Hamilton Student Torch Champion Adrian Bradley. Adrian bravely carried the Torch to his school Sir John A McDonald. Hats off to Hamilton Police for a great escort
February 7, 2008, Cambridge ON
I had another snowstorm to face and the cab that was supposed to pick me up to bring me to the bus station was late and I missed my bus that would take me to Cambridge in time to start the event. Well I did not have the funds but I had no choice, I had to take a cab to Cambridge. I tried phoning the cab company to see if they would help me in this situation. They heard about what we doing in the news and they said yes they would cover half the fare. I later found out later on my credit card that they took the whole thing. Anyways, I arrived at Galt Collegiate Institute and met the Cambridge Student Torch Champions Danielle Mason & Lauren Doherty. The students carried the Torch the day from the outskirts of Cambridge to City Hall and met with Mayor Doug Craig and ended up at their school. In each of the stops that we making we were filming the entire event, including getting some personal comments from the students. I was alone on the road and I had to find a way to delegate these tasks with the schools, driving, filming and other things. In Cambridge we tried something for the first time. At the school assembly we would show the 6 minute video through a projector of all the student torch champions since we started in St John as part of the presentation and when the scene came to Cambridge, on the screen they would their school’s torch champions carrying the torch earlier that day. On that cue the girls arrived carrying the lit torch. It was fantastic; they received an ovation and got caught up in the moment. Parents and students would shed tears. We would organize this into all the school assemblies.
February 8, 2008, Guelph, ON
I had arrived at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute and met Step By Step’s director Mel Davis, the father of the late Victor Davis and Guelph Student Torch Champion Gavin Osborne. Gavin carried the Torch for Victor that day and was extra proud to do it, because one day he hoped to be on Canada’s Olympic team as a track star and Victor was his hero and born in the same city of Guelph.
February 11, 2008, Brantford, ON
I had arrived at Brantford Collegiate Institute & Vocational School and met Brantford Student Torch Champion Tim Archibald. The Torch started at City Hall where my good friend Josie Mannen who helped many times in previous campaigns and is Mayor’s Assistant was there again. She organized a beautiful event at City Hall and Mayor Mike Hancock greeted us. The student arrived to a great student assembly during our regular entrance with the video. MPP Dave Levac and MP Lloyd St. Almand were very moved by the event. Mr. Levac heard of my financial situation and strongly urged me to work with his assistant Chris Yaccato. I would be in contact with Chris many times to enlist some help.
February 12, 2008, London, ON
I arrived at London Central Secondary School, getting off the greyhound bus that morning from Brantford. I was still pretty upset that Greyhound was not helping me, think of the beautiful marketing they could receive as I am travelling across Canada each day in a different Greyhound bus. Anyways the students and staff were excited as usual. This school is well known in supporting organ awareness. The plan was to start the day at the famous London Health Science University, where cutting edge transplants surgeries take place. Joining us was the transplant medical staff and 2 schools, London Student Torch Champions Anne-Marie McNeil from London Central Secondary School & Paul Lamarra and Ryan Babington from Catholic Central. The students carried the Torch to London City Hall first and ended up at London Central Secondary School to an assembly. We continued with introducing the Torch Champions during the video and received a huge ovation. Something different happened at this assembly, the student master of ceremonies was reading out my background and included my turbulent years when I was involved with drugs, jails etc before I transformed my life. This information is available on our website www.stepbystep.ca, for everyone to see, but very seldom do I get people asking me about this particular time in my life. After my transformation 1986-1995, I performed years of volunteer work for substance abuse and broken homes. I was used to talking openly and honestly about my life in front of large crowds and it usually inspired a few people into changing their lives. Since I got involved with organ awareness since 1996, I seldom talked about part of my life, but since it rose at this school, I was more than glad to talk about it to the kids. I could spot a few kids that really needed to hear this message. I make it a practice not to confuse my message, but I will never turn down the opportunity to talk about any part of my life.
February 13, 2008, Windsor, ON
I arrived at Hon W.C. Kennedy Secondary School and met with Windsor Torch Champion Lauren Rock who seemed to be limping. This brave girl was about to run carrying the Torch with a bad leg. We started at Windsor City Hall. What was really amazing today was seeing Lauren run with obviously a lot of pain. Watching her carrying the Torch into a room filled with about 1000 students with her head up high limping was the essence of this entire campaign. Lauren had demonstrated an incredible feat. I would like to acknowledge my good friend Joe Fallea who looked after me in Windsor.
February 14, 2008, Chatham, ON
I arrived at John McGregor Secondary School and met Chatham Student Torch Champions Cassie Wilbur, Emily Guerin & Brent. Also joining us were Mr. & Mrs. Cowell, they sadly lost their young baby waiting for an organ transplant recently. So today we were carrying the Torch for Bailey Cowell. We started at Chatham City Hall where Mayor Randy Hope greeted the Student Torch Champions. The students were joined in the running with Mrs. Cowell. Again the students arrived to a thunderous ovation at school. It is always a challenge to incorporate the day’s footage into the video that is shown. Time and non panic mode is necessary.
February 15, 2008, Sarnia, ON
Today I arrived in Sarnia, and this was an exceptional day. Sarnia is the home of the one and only Kristopher Knowles. Kris as you can remember travelled with me during the first half of SOS4000 and had to go back to school so he can graduate. Well here he was back in Sarnia, and he organized the entire event. Kayla Christina Mavretic was chosen as the Sarnia Student Torch Champion. She carried the torch proudly around City Hall. Kris was the master of ceremonies and before my eyes I witnessed teenager maturing rather quickly. I could still remember first meeting him at this very spot 8 years ago when he was 10 years old. No one could imagine the things we did since that date. I t was an emotional day for and his family recalling thousands of events along the way. I said to them to let me know when Kris wants to run as Prime Minister, I will be there to run his campaign.
February 21, 2008, Orillia, ON
I arrived at Orillia District Collegiate & Vocational Institute and met Orillia Student Torch Champions Julianne Tersigni & Klyle Frederikson. We started at Orillia City Hall and were greeted by Mayor Ron Stevens. The students carried the Torch to their school and once again received a thunderous ovation. I dreamed often of having a reality show that cover our events every day, because if these kids could inspire a community, they could inspire a nation. Once a dream, soon a reality.
February 27, 2008, North Bay, ON
I was looking so forward in arriving in North Bay, because again one of the most spectacular things was about to happen. The person that was chosen as the North Bay Student Torch Champion was none other than Julie Perrotta. In 1999 when I did the Ontario Walk, my mission was to wake up Ontario about the organ shortage and get Premier Harris’s attention. During my walk from Ottawa to North Bay, my road manager Joe Camarra heard the news of young Julie’s story on the radio as I was approaching Deep River. Julie was in a hospital fighting for her life waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Along the way we heard about many similar stories and we offered our help. But in this case something fantastic was to follow, something that was impossible for us to plan. We fully engaged ourselves with the community of North Bay to help Julie. We needed a lot of passion to attempt the 4 month campaign Ontario with no funds, our passion went into overdrive in North Bay. Our yells became screams and we heard that the Premier was hearing us. Soon after Julie received her precious gift and we followed her progress, and after the Ontario Walk finished, Premier Harris arranged a Press Conference in North Bay. He went on to say that he did indeed hear our voices and in response to our pleas he created what is now called the Trillium Gift Of Life Network. Following the dots from the Ontario Walk you can clearly see how Julie played a big role in this picture. So it was with great excitement that I was leaving Toronto to bring the torch to Julie. On the way to the bus terminal that night, the subway was evacuated and I late for my bus. I had to take the late night bus and the next day we had to start the event in North Bay. I arrived at St. Joseph Scollard Hall Secondary School and met a very excited and grown up Julie Perrotta. We started at North Bay City Hall and Julie was given a great big kiss by Mayor Victor Fedeli. Julie and all. Her friends carried the Torch to another emotional reception at school. We showed a video of the past 9 years when Julie first needed a transplant to today where she carried the Torch Of Life. It doesn’t get better than this.
February 29, 2008, Kirkland Lake, ON
I arrived at Kirkland Lake the Greyhound Bus timetable, since there were no accommodations available. At Kirkland Lake District Composite High School, I met the Kirkland Lake Student Champion Miriam Barker. We started the Torch run at City Hall where Mayor Bill Enouy greeted the students. Again the students arrived to a great reception, where our video was shown on a giant screen that was used for the first time. After a great event I made my way to the bus to take me back to Toronto. About 2:00 am that night halfway into Toronto, the bus broke down and I forgot to film this. After about an hour another bus arrived to continue the journey.
March 6, 2008, Sudbury, Lively, ON
I arrived at Lively District Secondary School and met the Sudbury Student Torch Champions Laura McKay & Corey Smith. We made our way to Sudbury City Hall and the students were greeted by council. The students carried the Torch to their school and were greeted by many fellow students as they approached the building. During the assembly Corey’s dad talked about being a live kidney donor, he donated to his sister. The event was great and I headed back to Toronto to resume the campaign after March Break-March 22,
March 18, 2008, Toronto, ON
I arrived with Step By Step Chairperson Ojo Tewogbade at the office of the Trillium Gift Of Life Network. We had a meeting with CEO Frank Markel & Chairperson Rabbi Bulka. We were following up on the Health Minister’s suggestion about putting in an application to get assistance from this provincial agency. If you recall, it was because of our work during the Ontario Walk that this agency was created, but we never ever received assistance. Now was the time! We presented a convincing case to collaborate our efforts with the agency. Their answer was made before we got there. So we really wasted our time for the umpteenth time. Of course I was upset, but what upset the most was a comment made to me by the Rabbi, to take myself off the project. He said the world of organ donations will continue without you. I am usually very vocal about my positions on such questions, but on that day I stilled my tongue. The response that I would of given, would be this. I would turn to him and say why don’t you take yourself off as Chairperson and see if your agency will still continue and if you believe that you should not be sitting in that chair in the first place. Why would you want to sit in that chair unless you thought you can make a difference? So why would I want to take myself off, when I know I am trying to make a difference. In the end that agency is sitting on 100 million dollars to bring awareness and I am boarding a bus on the brink of loosing my house and yet I was very polite about it. I do not know whether that is good or bad.
March 19, 2008, Elliot Lake ON
On the entire bus ride I was seething with anger as I made my way to Elliot Lake. Here I am travelling alone with 3 big duffel bags, bringing the Torch to about 40 more cities in the next 3 months. And not knowing if I would start loosing my house in the process, I had no real financial plan. I really hated asking for funds especially when I had my hands full. So I tried to drown out the anger with my IPOD. I soon realized, I forgot my IPOS at home. Now I had to keep playing the tape over and over in my head. I thought of Obama and his struggle and what he is trying to do and pretended that he knew what I was trying to do and in a weird way that calmed me down. I arrived at Elliot Lake Secondary School and was greeted with a lot of excitement. The first was the radio host that called me to do an interview. Joe Snider could have been a big radio host in Toronto but he decided to settle down in this small community and was hip to my journey. We called the Elliot Lake Student Torch Champion Jeremy Brown to join me at the radio station. He was so pumped and so happy that he was doing this, it made everybody smile. The entire community seemed to be aware of this torch run. Boy what a rollercoaster ride with my feelings. But then again, I was used to this, but you never really get used to the up and down, you can only try. After finishing a great event, I knew I was in for the long haul as I looked towards the next day, day by day, step by step and he said why don’t you just stay home.
March 20, 2008, Sault Ste Marie ON
I met with the Sault Ste Marie Student Torch Champion Jessica Ferlaino. I thought that Elliot Lake would be a hard act to follow, boy was I wrong. Jessica was flying, I mean her phone would not stop ringing. She was the first University Student on this campaign to be Torch Champion. I would like to thank Humberto for helping out. He is a Portuguese reporter who is studying at Algoma University. We started with a proclamation from Mayor John Roswell at City Hall. Jessica ran with the Torch to her school and we arrived at the speakeasy, an area where all the students gather. Humberto brought me to a Portuguese club where I enjoyed a great Easter dinner and had a chance to speak to them about the famous Torch. We also got a call from the SOO Greyhounds Hockey team. They are in the playoffs and are favoured to win the cup this year. They asked if Jessica could carry the Torch on the Ice during the National Anthem at Monday night’s game. You know what an honour that is. These guys are crazy about their hockey team. Last time we carried the Torch on the ice, I think that team went on to win. Anyways Jessica wants to do much more towards this campaign, so as I finish this part, I will continue updating the journey of Step By Step.
March 24, 2008, Sault Ste Marie ON
Once the SOO Greyhounds heard that The Torch was in town, they welcomed Jessica to bring the Torch to their 3rd playoff game at home. I challenged Steven Colbert on our video that his team was going down. Plans were for Jessica to carry the Torch to the ice during national anthem front of 10,000 passionate SOO fans,. She entered the ice with the flame of fire bursting from the Torch. This was probably a night for Jessica was going to remember.
March 25, 2008, Thunder Bay ON
In order for me to have the Torch available at the SOO game on Monday March 24, I had to take the 11:00 pm greyhound bus to Thunder Bay that night in order to make the planned event. This was an all night 9 hour bus ride. Two things happened that night, there was a snowstorm throughout the night and my pneumonia acted up again. The bus was entirely full and it seemed like these passengers were all suffering with something. Sounds of coughing, sneezing, moaning were constant. With the snowstorm engulfing us and a busload of sick people, it felt like we coming from a warzone or a catastrophe. As I entered Thunder Bay, I had no sleep and had time to just put my luggage away at the hotel and arrive at City Hall. I looked like something out of a warzone, the students and dignitaries were kind of staring kind of speechless. Regardless, we continued as planned and the Thunder Bay Student Torch Champion Lisa Zimak carried the Torch. As Lisa carried the Torch she pointed out to me a school that was along the way. That school was Pope John Paul 2 elementary school. We had Lisa do a photo op in front of the school. I was getting sicker as this point, I wonder if this was a sign.
March 31, 2008, Dryden ON
I arrived in Dryden very sick and thank god it was Friday, so I had a chance to go to the Dryden Hospital. I was treated with strong antibiotics and strongly told to rest. Well I had the weekend to rest, that was better than nothing. At this point I need to try and clarify my reasons to continue with this campaign. Getting sick is no fun, and knowing that you can prevent yourself from getting sicker and you don’t; someone does have the right to question your sanity or intention. In my case, whenever I am asked, the only way I can answer is I am continuing because I have to. It gets as simple as that. You see, I have been asked that question hundreds of times over the years, and I always found that this was the most logical answer. The Dryden Student Torch Champion was Jay Tremonti and he did a great job carrying the Torch to Dryden High School. At the school we had a chance to talk to the students and showed our video to them. I asked while I was at the hospital I asked if what I had was contagious and they said no. The staff and kids knew I was sick, and I was touched by their concern, it gave me more strength to continue on.
April 1, 2008, Kenora ON
I arrived to the Hotel in Kenora to find a package for me. My friend Fernando was checking my mail for me at home and sent me this package to me. It is herbal medicine from Japan called CHO-WA which means Harmony. That night I took it and instantly I felt better, it was like my body really needed it. I was still sick the next morning, but I felt hope with this medicine. The Kenora Student Torch Champion was Brendan Magnum and it was great to see Mayor Compton again. Brendan did a great job carrying the Torch to Beaver Brae Secondary School.
April 7, 2008, Winnipeg MB
Well I just crossed the border into Manitoba as I left Ontario and arrived in Winnipeg. In every province I make arrangements with the Premier and the government to take part in our activities. This also gives me an opportunity to shed some light to the government about organ and tissue donations. Winnipeg’s Student Torch Champion was Sam Unrau. Sam carried the Torch all the way from the Manitoba Legislative Building to his school Argyle Alternate High School, in his wheelchair. What an incredible sight seeing Sam carrying the Torch through the heart of Winnipeg for the entire 10 kilometers. Sam received the Torch Manitoba’s Heath Minister Theresa Oswald. While Sam was carrying the Torch in his wheelchair with a police escort in the middle of the street, thousands of cell phone cameras were clicking from cars and pedestrians. This is the reason why the Torch has to continue and God knows how many more reasons.
April 10, 2008, Regina SK
As quickly as I was in Manitoba, I was now entering a new province Saskatchewan. I entered Regina and once again I made arrangements with the Premier and the governments to participate in our activities. Premier Wall was scheduled to meet with Regina Student Torch Champion Zach Sauve. The Premier was very kind in his comments and seemed very sincere in expressing them. I was grateful to hear these words from the Premier, knowing that once again we planting another seed that would somehow grow. Zach was excited about the entire experience and carried the Torch proudly to his school Robert Usher Collegiate.
April 11, 2008, Moose Jaw SK
Deputy Mayor was present at Moose Jaw to pass the Torch to Central Collegiate Student Torch Champ Ashley Wilk. Ashley carried the Torch proudly to her school. I always enjoy going to Moose Jaw, because Temperal Garden Mineral Spa always lets me use their wonderful facilities.
April 14, 2008, Saskatoon SK
Saskatoon was very memorable in its own way. The activities were set up at Saskatoon City with quite a large crowd. Mayor Atchison was present to do the honours of passing the Torch to Bishop James Mahoney’s student Erin Foster. The very special thing about this event was that her parents showed up to receive the Torch with Erin. You see Erin’s mom had recently donated her kidney to her dad and they were both present to carry the Torch with Erin. This was magnificent, it was hard not to share a tear as the Saskatoon Police began escorting them to the school. This event captured front headlines in every media outlet. What a way to inspire everyone.
April 16, 2008, Prince Albert SK
Mayor Jim Scarrow was present to pass the Torch to St. Mary’s Community High School student Torch Champion Adam Young. The entire basketball team came out to accompany Adam as he made his way to his school
April 17, 2008, North Battleford SK
North Battleford was a memorable day in its own way. Mayor Sadlowski who I first thought was a panhandler, was there to do the honours. Mayor Sadlowski says that he always gets mistaken for being a panhandler. What a great man, he won my respect big time. Student Torch Champions Jamie Arcann & Kaylene McQuaid carried the Torch for Jamie’s sister and aunt who both desperately need kidney transplants. They made their way to their school Pope John Paul 2 Collegiate. Yes that’s right JP2 Collegiate. The school had prepared an incredible assembly, in special honour of JP2 and the Torch. We all gathered around a magnificent statue of JP2 and prayed for Jamie’s sister and aunt.
April 18, 2008, Lloydminster SK
This was the second time we had twins to carry the Torch. This time it was students from Holy Rosary Teagan & Tierra Schroh and their friend Meagan Berlin. They carried the Torch from City Hall to their school. Lloydminster is a border town so the Torch was actually carried from Saskatchewan to Alberta.
April 21, 2008, Edmonton AB
We made arrangements with the Alberta government to have Premier Ed Stelmach present the Torch to Victoria Fine Arts High School student Caelum Ellis. The Premier was much different then Premier Klein, in that he was more laid back. The Premier was previously a farmer and his very courteous manners showed it. The Premier was very prepared for this event, he cancelled another meeting to attend. He did acknowledge the importance of this issue and promised to work with me. Again it feels like we planted another seed. The students from Victoria were very good in front of the camera since they all were from an art school. Boston Pizza saw us in the news and invited the entire gang for supper that night. We all gathered around the Televisions and saw ourselves on the news. What a way to end a great day.
April 24, 2008, Red Deer AB
When 76 year old Mayor Morris Flewweling received the Torch he started running with it around the building. We thought he wasn’t coming back. But he did with a big smile and passed the Torch to Hunting Hills High School students Adam Clifford, Alexi Kambeitz & Dylan Beaudry. The students wee really excited after catching the previous news in Edmonton and arranged a great reception at their school
April 28, 2008, Calgary AB
Today in Calgary we were once again carrying the Torch in memory of Trish Danielson. At the young age of 27, Trish died in a car accident in 2004 and donated her organs and Kristopher carried the Torch in her memory. Student Torch Champion Greg Baxter was selected from National Sport School to carry the Torch. His school specializes in potential Olympian athletics. Greg had a 10 team Mortorcycle brigade to escort him to the Saddledome.
April 29, 2008, Banff AB
I was in one of my favourite communities, Banff. I love thee Banff. This community is something out of fairytale. It just gives me an incredible feeling. The whole event was such a joy to do. Banff Community School chose Emily Latter to carry Torch from City Hall to their school. This is the closest that I ever seen of a cast of people that seem to come from a show like Leave It To Beaver. They had so much cheerfulness in them and it was contagious. I was really sad to leave this community
May 2, 2008, Lethbridge AB
This was our last stop in Lethbridge and Winston Churchill High School Student Torch Champion Lotte Laarman was eager to carry the Torch. We had a great media turnout at City Hall. Lotte carried the Torch for 12 kilometers and received a great reception at her school.
British Columbia Tour
May 5, 2008, Cranbrook BC
I entered the 10th province British Columbia. Mount Baker Secondary School selected Student Brianne Erichsen as their Champion to carry the Torch. Brianne carried the Torch from City Hall to her school. The mountains and being in valley was breathtaking.
May 6, 2008, Nelson BC
I f Banff is Leave It to Beaver, Nelson is the pure sixties when hippies and flower power were alive and kicking. Nelson is the city that time forgot and caught in a time warp. L.V. Rogers Secondary School student torch champions Alana Adamson & Lauren Ray ran with the Torch from City to their school. I love Nelson
May 7, 2008, Castlegar BC
Castlegar is Robin Tomlin. Robin a father of 3 needs a liver transplant. He is not sick enough to registered on the waiting list. He is a statistic we do not talk about, he is one of thousands that cannot make it on the waiting list. Robin is also a devoted volunteer of Step By Step. Many years, Robin has helped out. Stanley Humphries Secondary School Student Torch Champion Alexandra Yule carried the Torch from City Hall to her school.
May 8, 2008, Trail BC
J.L Crowe Secondary School Student Torch Champion Kaylee Tjader carried the Torch from the Home Of Champions Statue in downtown Trail to her school. Former MLA member Sandy Santori, who carried that Torch in 2001 in the rain, came out to greet us. I t was great seeing him again.
May 10, 2008, Penticton BC
I arrived in Penticton and met with student Torch Champion Richard Young from Penticton Secondary School at City Hall. Richard was carrying the Torch for his cousin who was waiting for a kidney transplant. At this point the weather was getting real hot, I was actually travelling in a dessert.
May 14, 2008, Kelowna BC
I arrived at City Hall and met with student Torch Champion Jen Woods and students from Rutland Senior Secondary School. One of the students was Billy Adie Jr, the son of Billy Adie, one of Step By Step road manager. Billy Jr. helped out with many things during my stay in Kelowna.
May 16, 2008, Vernon BC
I arrived at City Hall and met with Student Torch Champions Theoren Judge and Chantelle Deacon. They carried the Torch to their school. Chantelle’s parents were present. They were so proud. I t is always great to see the family of the torch champions
May 20, 2008, Kamloops BC
I arrived to City Hall and met with Student Torch Champion Jonathon Wiens and students from Sa-Hali Secondary School. Jonathon carried the Torch to his school
May 21, 2008, Merritt BC
I arrived at City Hall to meet with student Torch Champion Alexander Dirksen from Merritt Secondary School. Alexander carried the Torch to his school
May 23, 2008, Chilliwack BC
I arrived at City Hall and met with student Torch Champion Kevin Dyck and students from Chilliwack Secondary School. Kevin carried the Torch to his school. It was a this school that I first heard about young Alexa and her sad yet very inspiring story. 4 year old Alexa was feeding horses as she usually did at the end of a day in Ladner just south of Vancouver. While she was feeding the horses, a car struck her and killed her. Her parents Michael and Laurel courageously and selflessly donated her organs and 3 kids are alive today who would otherwise be dead. My first spiritual impulse was to contact the family to offer comfort. I had encountered situations like this many times so I proceeded with much care. I first contacted the spokesperson for the family, a police officer who was also handling the hit and run case. Constable Charlene Brooks was very moved after talking with me, she mentioned to leave things with her and she would get back to me. I know that this journey is a spiritual journey and full of devine intervention, what will be, will be, cause it was meant to be.
May 26, 2008, Vancouver BC
I arrived at Point Grey Secondary to meet the Student Torch Champion James Barnes. As I arrived I also met with the police escort and as we prepared to start the Torch run, my cell phone rang and I missed the call. I quickly checked my voice mail and discovered a very important message. It was a message from Michael Middelaer, Alexa’s dad, and he was honoured to have the Torch carried in Alexa’s memory.
Below was a statement from the family
May 26, 2008
For Immediate Release
For the exclusive use of George Marcello – SOS 4000
Our dear child Alexa, possesses an amazing strength of spirit and during her short time here on earth this spirit touched and influenced many.
Contribution is at the heart of our family, and more importantly, personifies who Alexa is. Therefore, it was a natural and logical choice to allow Alexa’s body and spirit to provide life to others. You need to know that with organ transplant, the giver’s family benefits in many ways. Knowing that the seeds of life and strength of spirit of their loved one, are transplanted in others provides unprecedented and unexpected comfort.
Organ transplantation is about doing the right thing at the right time. It should be an easy decision. People have choices in life; and these choices will ultimately define who we are as people, as a community, and as a nation.
So today we encourage you make the right choice, in honor of Alexa’s spirit and in support of SOS 4000. These are life defining decisions – and they will benefit many.
Alexa made a difference; we ask that going forward you do the same.
Michael, Laurel and Christian Middelaer
May 29, 2008, Victoria BC
I arrived at Victoria High School to meet with Student Torch Champion Mohsen Kheari and other fellow students. I met with my 2000 Canada Walk BC Road Manager David W Smith. David introduced me to many people in BC 8 years ago when I walked across Canada. He was helping me with activities on this day. Usually when we start the torch treks, we prepare the torch and then light it. We kept our eye off the Torch for a few minutes and then we realized someone had stolen it. Today was the second day that we were carrying the Torch for Alexa and it was gone. I can’t say that I didn’t panic, cause I was upset. The school put out an emergency announcement to bring the Torch. There was a lot of media that showed up. What were we going to do? We approached the machine shop and they cut off a piece of pipe for us and we created a fake torch and started walking with it. We realized we also lost the Torch Champion Mohsen. After walking for 5 minutes, we all see Mohsen running with the real Torch. He had tracked the suspects and retrieved the Torch. He followed the Lamp oil fluid to the suspects. What a hero he was. The suspects were to write an essay on why organ donations was important. We marched to British Columbia Legislative Building and met many members of the NDP Party who were there to receive the Torch on behalf of British Columbia. The beautiful statement from the Middelaer family was read out. The day ended up on a perfect note.
June 2, 2008, Whistler BC
I arrived at Whistler Secondary School and met with Whistler student Torch Champion Stephen Chelli. Whistler is an extremely beautiful city and you can feel the energy as they are preparing for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Stephen ran with the Torch with Councillor Ralph Forsyth. They arrived right in the centre of town and received a lot of cheers. I guess this was a good warmup for the upcoming games
June 4, 2008, Quesnel BC
I arrived at the Quesnel City Hall and met with Quesnel student Torch Champion Haley Benson. Today the Torch was carried in the memory of Tammy Michelle Barry who passed away in 1994 at the young age of 13. She donated her tissues. Tammy’s mom Elaine Barry has been volunteering for Step By Step for the past 8 years. Elaine has recently been suffering with Cerebral Palsy and could not make it. Haley carried the Torch proudly to her school Quesnel Secondary School. I later dropped by to see my good friend Elaine at her house. Despite her condition, Elaine had a bright smile on her face
June 6, 2008, Prince George BC
I arrived at Cedar’s Christian School and met with Prince George Student Torch Champion Kayla Gordon. Kayla and fellow students carried the Torch to City Hall and met with Mayor Colin Kinsley. After the event I rushed back to the hotel to check my messages. Today could have been the last day of the SOS4000 Campaign depending on my email messages. Air North sent me an email confirming that they would contribute a flight for me from Vancouver to Whitehorse. I made my way to Greyhound and took a 15 hour bus ride to Vancouver.
June 7, 2008, Vancouver Airport BC
I arrived at Vancouver airport and was greeted by the Air North staff. We took some pictures and did some video promos. I checked in my luggage and before I boarded the plane, the airport security wanted to talk to me. Apparently I was under investigation. They were curious about the Torch which I checked in the plane luggage. The Torch was put into a knapsack with the wick and other odds and ends that could possibly look like a suspicious appearance. It makes sense that this concerned security. Thank god Air North came to my rescue and apologies were made and I was on my way. I had to however wash down the Torch with vegetable oil. The last time I carried the Torch on a plane was in September 1 2001, on my way to see Pope John Paul 2 at Vatican City. This was of course before 9/11. It did not occur to me about the Torch as I was heading towards possibly the last stop of the SOS4000 Campaign. I would remember to always wash down the Torch with vegetable oil before boarding a plane.
June 9, 2008, Whitehorse YK
I arrived at the hotel to receive an important message. First Air was contributing a flight for me from Whitehorse to Yellowknife but not to Iqaluit. So I guess Yellowknife would be my last stop. I arrived to Porter Creek Secondary School and met with Whitehorse Student Torch Champion Riley Tobin. Riley and his fellow students did a great job in carrying the Torch in the rain to City Hall. They met with Mayor Shauna Buckaway who was very grateful that I brought the Torch to Whitehorse.
North West Territories
June 11, 2008, Yellowknife NT
My friend Fox Morin set up me up in Yellowknife last year June 15, 2007. He arranged for me to bring the Torch to an important Aboriginal Conference. The Torch was blessed by elders and a medicine man who was blind and very respected in the Aboriginal Community. It was at this conference in Yellowknife that I officially announced that I would conduct the SOS4000 Campaign. So it was fitting that I finish the campaign here in Yellowknife. The medicine man who was at the conference in 2007 was actually also at a sweat that Fox Morin conducted for me during my Canada Walk on April 2001 near Edmonton. I brought the Torch inside the sweat and the Medicine man said that the Torch would be received by many more people including someone very important in the near future. 2 months later I was passing the Torch to the Pope. I asked him again what lays ahead for the Torch when I met him last year and he said that the Torch will continue but the journey will be rough. He was right on both counts. I arrived at St Pats High School and met with the first half of the Yellowknife Student Torch Champion Kathleen O’Brien. Kathleen carried the Torch to John Franklin High School and passed the Torch to the other Yellowknife Student Torch Champion Derrick Polakoff. They both carried the Torch to the NWT Legislative and passed the Torch to Deputy Premier Michael Miltonberger for the final steps of the SOS4-000 Campaign. At the Yellowknife Airport, I cleaned the Torch with Vegetable oil and when I got on the plane, I wondered about giving the blind medicine man a call and ask him what lies ahead for the Torch Of Life.
June 26, 2008, Queens Park ON
I held a press conference at Queens Park to give my report on the past year with SOS4000 Campaign. Our Chairperson Ojo Tewogbade was with me and I made the report complete with Video and documents that were collected along the way. We brought the Torch under the memory of Alexa Renee Middelaer. There was not a big reception, very few media outlets. I made my way home and was very happy that in the past 2 weeks since I finished the campaign, I managed to contact every single Student Torch Champion, over 100 across Canada. I was preparing them to hopefully hold a day in September 2008, where we can bring them all together in one room, through the magic of Video Conferencing. They are excited and prepared to do it as soon as I give them the signal. I was holding on to very precious memories with each and every one of them, I can just imagine the energy this would create to bring them all together. I think the entire country would be proud of these kids. So I got to make this happen one way or another. I also have the challenge of not losing my house after using a 3rd mortgage to fund the Campaign. Oh well the blind medicine man said this would be a rough journey.
August 6, 2008, Parliament Hill
St John’s Student Torch Champion Samantha Elton Taite was chosen as the Canadian Student Torch Champion. In a ceremonial press conference at Parliament Hill, Samantha was crowned and given a royal tour inside. She sat on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chair and said I now declare organ & tissue donation a National Issue
April 6, 2009, Toronto City Hall
After the 6th Campaign, the Canadian Students were honoured for their great work at a special ceremony Their combined feat will set an example for other countries. This event set the stage for the next chapter of the Torch Of Life to continue its journey and helped launch Step By Step’s 7th Campaign SOS THE AMERICAS, SOSTA for short.