Dear Friends of Hugh Cleland,
At 90 years young, Hugh is still working to bring purpose to his life through his commitment to healthy living and fundraising for Operation Smile.
After the passing of his 2nd wife, Hugh moved to North Vancouver in 2018 to be closer to his son Bruce and his family. Prior to moving to BC, Hugh filled his time with several pursuits such as travelling and painting. For the most part he had become sedentary, to the point where he would use a walker for longer outings.
Upon moving to Vancouver, his son Bruce suggested he get a set of Nordic walking poles and Hugh started walking along the West Vancouver seawall for exercise. Hugh found the poles to be immensely helpful and his walks started getting longer and longer.
Hugh was loving his new sense of purpose and decided it would be fun to see if he could do the equivalent number of steps to walk across Canada – approximately 6,300 KMs or 7,875,000 steps. The staff and fellow residents of Summerhill were very supportive. Each day when he'd come back from his walk they'd ask, "How far are you today?" or "Where are you now?".
And so it began, starting at John’s, to Halifax, Ottawa, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Banff, Kelowna, Vancouver and finally, Hugh had walked the distance in steps from “St. John’s” and was back in "Victoria"!
The walk took a little longer than expected because in August of 2020, Hugh slipped one day and ended up fracturing 6 bones in his foot. This setback required a week in hospital and a recovery plan. With the help of Summerhill's in-house Active Living Manager and a workout routine in the gym, some 8 weeks later, Hugh was back in full swing.
During the recovery period, Hugh and the Active Living Manager would talk about what a fun project "the walk" had become. They both seemed to think that perhaps there was a great story and a fundraising opportunity. Hugh is a long-time contributor to Operation Smile. And there it was born, "Miles for Smiles".
Operation Smile is a volunteer-based global medical charity that provides free surgery to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial differences in children and young adults. For a child with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate, surgery and comprehensive cleft care changes their life forever.
Help Hugh bring hope and new smiles to children born with cleft conditions by supporting his fundraising goal!