Long distance walking and hiking is a regular part of Toni Schofield's life.
She has hiked in the Himalayas and made it to base camp at Mt. Everest.
Toni has decided to turn her passion into a once in a lifetime adventure that will take her from downtown Alliston to New Minas, Nova Scotia – a distance of around 1900 km – all on foot.
She is doing the walk to raise funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association York and South Simcoe. All the funds raised will go directly to the foundation and she has their full support in the venture.
The walk is called Miles 4 Mental Health.
Toni is the office administrator at the Alliston branch of the Association on Victoria Street. She is also a fire fighter with the Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department at the Everett station.
“My reason for doing this journey is I am taking my love of adventure and focusing it on a cause that is close to my heart,” Toni explained. “Mental health issues have touched the lives of people I love and I couldn't be more proud to be able to bring funding and awareness to this cause. I see on a daily basis how CMHA York South Simcoe has helped so many people and their families in so many ways and I want to be able to help provide more resources and programming to help even more people and their loved ones.”
Toni has the entire walk route planned out and expects to walk an average of around 45 kilometres per day. The plan is to complete the walk in 50 day.
“The plan is, on April 30, 2021, I will start here at this office and walk to New Minas, Nova Scotia,” Toni said.
To prepare, she is training by doing a lot of walking – up to 20 km in a night.
The route to Nova Scotia is mostly on back roads as walking along major highways is not allowed.
Friends of Toni's have volunteered to be a part of her crew on the road, but since they can't just leave their jobs or families for an extended period of time, most have volunteered to rotate in for a few days.
Toni is laying out her own money for the logistics of the walk.
She is hoping to find a sponsor willing to lend her a camper van or rent at a reduced rate. The van will be with her on the road with a support crew who can react if needed. It will also be a shelter for camping when on the road as they will be going through some rather remote areas.
Donations in support of the walk have already started coming in.
You can find out more, and donate on line by visiting the following link:
And in case you're wondering, Toni has calculated it will take around 2,945,000 steps to complete the journey.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times