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Cross Canada runner Jon Nabbs reaches Hope during Terry Fox inspired run

Nabbs said he will be in Vancouver on Feb.29

Nearly nine months after starting his Canada-wide run to raise money for children fighting cancer, New Zealander Jon Nabbs finally reached Hope.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Nabbs when asked about his stay in Hope. “I had a pretty good dinner at the (Mountainview Brewing Co.). And then Michelle (Stephens), a Hope resident who heard about what I was doing via social media, she gave me a roof over my head for the night.”

Nabbs, who started this journey last year on May 3, arrived in Hope, from Merritt, on Thursday night (Feb. 22). He was here until Saturday morning (Feb. 24) and his next stop was Chilliwack.

For two days, while wearing his Superman suit while pushing “Shania” (the buggy he’s been storing his stuff in), Nabbs trekked across the Coquihalla under relatively pleasant weather — just missing the dumping of snow forecast by Environment Canada for Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 25).

When he was 40 kilometres outside of Hope, Nabbs said he was met by a Hope local who ran with him the rest of the way into town. Upon arriving, another Hope local provided him with free meal at Mountainview Brewing. Nabbs said he’s also been getting a mini tour of the town, and its history, from Stephens while he’s been staying with her.

According to Nabbs, his arrival in Hope means that he can finally “take it easy” and properly enjoy the run, now that his worries about crossing the Coquihalla are over. Nabbs, who has been running solo with no vehicle support, has been raising money for child cancer patients in New Zealand and Canada. His final destination is Victoria, which will bring his trip to an end at 7,500 kilometres of running.

So far, he’s raised over $80,000 and he hopes to reach his goal, of $100,000, by the time he reaches Vancouver Thursday (Feb. 29). Donations are going towards both Childhood Cancer Canada (in Canada) and Child Cancer Foundation (in New Zealand).

It is his hope that, through this journey, he can provide support to children with cancer and their families, as well as help continue to fund research for cancer.

“No one warns you how ugly (cancer) is until it happens. And because of that, it takes you by surprise,” said Nabbs. “Because it’s so random, it scares the crap out of people and rightly so. So we avoid talking about it.

Originally from Cambridge, New Zealand, Nabbs recently lost his parents, Brian Nabbs and Margaret Forsyth, to cancer in 2020 and 2021. Their diagnosis, he explained on his website, helped him understand both “the desperate feeling a family experiences when they receive a diagnosis.” It also made him acutely aware of how important it is, despite this pain and desperation, “to find hope, inspiration, joy, and trying to live through that period on your own terms.”

Nabbs said he was also moved by the story of Terry Fox, whose compassion for cancer patients and their families resonated with him. Impressed by Fox’s desire to keep the focus on cancer patients, and away from media hype, Nabbs said he wanted to do something similar.

On a very cold and wet day — about four days after landing in Canada — Nabbs dipped his hand in the Atlantic Ocean, at St. Johns, N.L., and took off on the longest run of his life.

For most of the journey, he has been either camping whenever he stopped or taking a bed when it’s been offered. He’s also found himself completely enamoured with the many Canadian communities and cities he’s come across.

And he’s also been incredibly grateful to the generosity and kindness displayed by the people he’s met. And the support and understanding they’ve shown towards what he’s doing.

“At its core, it’s not about hype and excitement and the media. It’s about compassion and empathy. And helping and service,” said Nabbs. “And I also feel I’ve grown a lot just by being around Canadian culture and Canadian society. There’s some fantastic elements of Canadian culture and society that I hope I’ve been able to learn from and take on board within me.”

Now, on the last leg of his journey, Nabbs said B.C. Children’s Hospital is already anticipating his arrival and have arranged for him to meet their patients. Additionally, the Canucks — who’ve heard about what he’s doing — have also reached out to him about attending their game and donating Canucks merchandise to B.C. Children’s.

Nabbs “Shania” joke (he named his buggy after Shania Twain, for the beginning lyrics of her song You’re Still The One) has also gained the attention of legendary Canadian singer Shania Twain.

As a way to raise the last $20,000 he needs to meet his goal, Nabbs organized a silent auction with donations from various organizations, and big people who’ve reached out to him.

“One of the crowds that’s come on board for the fundraiser is Shania Twain,” said Nabbs. “She’s given handwritten lyrics (by her) of that song. The whole idea is that I’m going to sign it and frame it and auction it off.”

The silent auction ran until Feb. 29 and more information about the auction was available on Nabbs’ website, .

People were also able to visit Nabbs’ Instagram @jon.nabbs, for updates about his journey. Donations could also be made by visiting

— With files from Zach Delaney

Kemone Moodley

About the Author: Kemone Moodley

I began working with the Hope Standard on August 2022.
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