It’s a cross-country journey that hits close to home for Bruce and Holly Johnson.
The father-daughter duo started a motorcycle ride across Canada in St. John’s, Nfld. on Aug. 1, and stopped in Saskatoon Sunday.
The ride is a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network. As of Aug. 21, they had received more than $162,000 in donations, and the pair hopes to make it to $200,000.
“We really want to raise awareness about Children’s Miracle Network this time,” said Bruce, who has fundraised alongside his wife for the organization in their work as realtors with RE/MAX.
“A lot of families don’t realize how important the hospital is until you need it. It turned a light on when we needed it,” he said.
Bruce is honouring his daughter, Alyssa Rae, who was born Nov. 17, 1998 with omphalocele; a condition where an infant’s intestine or other abdominal organs are outside of the body because of a hole in the belly button area.
Alyssa Rae received care at the children’s hospital in Toronto, where she died 20 days later.
On Sunday, Bruce and Holly visited the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan site and got an update on the fundraising effort for the facility opening in 2019.
“It’s going to change a lot of lives,” he said. “You don’t know it yet, but it will.”
— JT Marshall (@jtmarshallCKOM) August 21, 2016
They were in Regina Saturday to meet Saskatchewan’s champion child, 10-year-old Cohyn Wells of Moose Jaw, who lives with spina bifida.
“He’s been through so much, but he’s still always smiling,” Holly said.
Bruce said he was moved by Wells, who he described as “full of life.”
“He changes your mood when he walks in,” he said.
Wells is now on a list of inspiring children the motorcyclist keeps with him on the road.
“I look at the list every day and it keeps me going,” Bruce said. “We’re riding for these kids.”
The tour for the Johnsons ends in Vancouver, B.C. on Aug. 31.