Surrey man runs to honour late friend and teacher, raise thousands for the Canadian Cancer Society

A Surrey man has set out to run 100 miles, with the goal of raising thousands of dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society, and to honour his late friend and teacher.

Twenty-seven-year-old Josh Sloan, who lives with Down Syndrome, formed a close bond with Debbie Kovacs, his former special education assistant at Surrey’s Simon Cunningham Elementary School.

"She’d teach me how to read, how to spell, how to do math, and especially she’d teach me how to go for runs,” said Sloan.

The two remained close after Sloan moved on to high school and adulthood, up until Kovacs died of cancer a few years ago.

Sloan is now on a mission to run 100 miles in two months and raise $20,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

"I miss my friend Debbie Kovacs,” Sloan said. “I'm thinking of her. I have great memories.”

On Saturday, Sloan reached the halfway point of his 100-mile journey with a run from Simon Cunningham to Bear Creek Park.

To his surprise, he gained some running mates along the way. Members of the Surrey Fire Service joined him on his quest to the finish line, and also contributed a $5,000 donation.

"Firefighters are seen quite a bit fighting fires, but what people don't see is our fight with cancer,” said SFS Capt. Robert Tewson. “We have a quite statistically higher chance to get cancer.”

“This is a nice connection for us to support him, because really, he's supporting us,” added Tewson. “He’s a hero. He’s our champion.”

To contribute to Josh’s fundraiser, visit his fundraising page on the Canadian Cancer Society website.