Departing from North Cape early on Good Friday, with a wooden cross on his shoulder, Dr Vincent Adams began his tip-to-tip trek across PEI for mental health and suicide prevention.
Travelling the main highway (Route 2), Mr Adams plans to walk the equivalent of two marathons a day over the Easter weekend in hopes of reaching East Point by Monday night.
“I’ve been training hard,” he said in an interview with The Graphic a few days prior to beginning his roughly 250 kilometre walk. “I’m as ready as I think I’m possibly going to be for what I’m doing.”
The wooden cross he’s carrying as part of his walk weighs about 50 pounds. It was made for him by a gentleman from eastern PEI out of an old building. Mr Adams added padding in an effort to make it a little more comfortable when the cross rests on his shoulder. Little crosses will also be dangling from the main cross, marked with names of people who’ve been impacted by suicide.
Mr Adams originally planned this walk for Easter 2020 by hiking the Camino de Santiago Trail in Spain as a fundraiser for the PEI division of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, throwing a monkey wrench into his plans. Mr Adams decided to halt his fundraising, although he managed to raise $7,000 by that point.
Determined to fulfill his original vision, Mr Adams considered trying to travel to Spain for this Easter.
“Whenever I got shut down last year, if everything opens up next year, I’ll go to El Camino, so I kept training,” he explained.
But with the raise of variant strains of the COVID-19 virus, he decided to change course and walk across PEI instead.
He resumed the fundraising and he will be also accepting donations along the route when he is walking. Those who donate then will be able to sign the cross if they want to.
“I hate unfinished business, I just needed to do it,” said Mr Adams. “I also feel like this could be a blessing for people. During COVID, a lot of people have felt isolated and not necessarily feeling the best. It was about suicide prevention, but at the same time, I think, in general, people are getting behind it because they want to share love for each other.”
Supporting Mr Adams in his walk is Bruce Craig.
The owner of Craig Construction in Northam decided to sponsor Mr Adams’ original Spanish walk when the Island chiropractor was promoting the venture at his church last year.
“It’s something close to my heart,” said Mr Craig, who lost a friend to suicide.
Mr Craig was inspired by what Mr Adams was attempting to do that he constructed a lighter cross for him to use when he was planning to walk the Camino de Santiago Trail.
Mr Adams really appreciates Mr Craig going to the trouble of making the second cross, but now that he has decided to walk across PEI, he will be using the heavier cross for his journey.
However, Mr Craig joined Mr Adams for his western leg of his walk, following him in a truck as he departed from North Cape at 4:30 am on a wet and cold Good Friday. Mr Craig will trail Mr Adams until he reaches Summerside.
“I’m really happy to be involved,” said Mr Craig. “It’s something that I could do to assist him in his endeavour.”