West Island family starts unique cross-country journey to honour 19-year-old who died in February

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By Christine Long, Selena Ross, CTV News Montreal

On the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s run, a West Island family is getting their own, very different, cross-country journey underway.

Cody Michael Bouchard was a force of nature, his family said.

Cancer stopped him in his tracks at age 19, this February, but in that short time he managed to make an impression on a lot of people—more than his family even realized at first.

The month after Cody died, as the pandemic hit, his family found a note he had left them. 

He asked them to start a fund to raise money to help other cancer-stricken kids and teenagers, said his dad, Dave Bouchard.

“When we found that in March, we said ‘We have to honour him and do it for him,’” he said.

It hasn’t been easy to do that in the midst of all of life’s other disruptions right now. But with the help of friends, the family planned an outrageous idea that they can all participate in, connecting with people across the country even during a time of self-isolation. 

One friend in particular, Jon Shrier, is going to do the trip: he’ll be riding a onewheel, which is a motorized skateboard with a single wheel.

It’s a unique way to travel, and sounds more manageable than some—but Shrier also plans to transit the entire Trans-Canada highway all the way to Whistler, B.C., and on a deadline, doing it in 30 days.

He and his support group will be meeting people along the way and raising money for the Voboc Foundation, which helps kids stay active while fighting cancer by providing them with equipment and other support. The name stands for “Venturing Out Beyond Our Cancer.”

The foundation was a big help to Cody, who was very athletic, his family says.

“He would have his cancer treatments and say ‘Hey guys, I need a break’ and go out and run 5K and then come back,” said Doreen Edwards of the Voboc Foundation. “This was an extraordinary kid.”

For his family, seeing the crowd that came out to support them at Cunningham’s Pub in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue was also a comfort.

“I’m overwhelmed, just with all the love and support that we’re receving, and the love since Cody was diagnosed,” said Cody’s mother, Elaine Descoeurs. “It's been truly amazing.”

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