Sidney Paul (left) and sister Synthia Paul stand with a photo of their brother

Standing strong to raise awareness

They ran and walked 55 kilometres from Alkali Lake to Williams Lake.

They ran and walked 55 kilometres from Alkali Lake to Williams Lake. All in honour and remembrance of their brother, Nick Paul.

It was the first step to what Synthia Paul and Sidney Paul hope becomes an annual tradition in Williams Lake — the Standing Strong Walk/Run — to help raise awareness about childhood leukemia and childhood cancer.

Nick, who turned 16 in March, lost his two-year battle with the disease on May 4 of this year.

Through Synthia’s conversations with Nick they decided a walk to raise awareness and to help others was something they wanted to do together. Synthia said this was their way of following through with Nick’s wishes and hopefully helping a family in need.

“We just thought about putting awareness out there for childhood cancer and we thought maybe we’d walk together and whatever money we raised we’d donate to a family from Williams Lake in need,” Synthia said. “We’re going to give the money we raised to a little boy from Williams Lake who was diagnosed with liver cancer about a month ago.”

The walk took place on Friday, Aug. 24 beginning at 9 a.m. and finished 11.5 hours later in Williams Lake. Synthia, Sidney and others family members and friends who walked with them only took breaks for water and snacks when they needed them.

For the final few kilometres Synthia and Sidney carried a large poster of Nick with them.

During his fight with cancer, however, his dad James Paul said Nick never complained once. He only wanted to help other kids with the disease.

“That was one of the things that our son wanted to do was to help other kids that were fighting and other families that were fighting cancer,” James said. “It was one of his things right from the start. He did it on his own and told the doctors they could use his blood, anything they needed.

“He said: ‘If we can’t cure mine at least help other children throughout B.C. and Canada’ and that’s just how our son was.”

Nick’s mom Zena Chelsea said the family plans to start a foundation to help a family in need every year. James added he hopes to one year walk from Williams Lake to Vancouver to spread the awareness even further.

The family hopes next year, and in the years ahead, more people come together to take part in the walk.

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