It's Thursday, March 22 at 2: 30 p.m. and Howie English answers the phone at Kaplan's Deli & Catering, a restaurant he manages at Oak Street and 41st Avenue in Vancouver.
Not at all out of the ordinary - until you find out that the 46-year-old father of three young daughters had, just the day before, completed a 32.5-hour, 167-kilometre walk from Pitt Meadows to Horseshoe Bay and back, to raise funds and awareness for people with Down syndrome and their families.
English's goal was to raise $100 for every kilometre he walks.
Proceeds from English's Down Syndrome Sky Walk - at $6,000 and counting - are going to the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF), and the Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society (LMDSS).
English started his walk at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 20 at Jungle Jac's Play Centre, 19800 Lougheed Hwy. in his hometown of Pitt Meadows.
English returned to Jungle Jac's around suppertime on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21.
There to greet him was a large group of supporters including Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin, Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters, councillors, and MLA Michael Sather.
English walked on behalf of his youngest daughter Rebecca, four, who has Down syndrome, as well as for other families facing a lifetime journey with Down syndrome.
When he reached his destination, English was so exhausted he could barely stand but he hugged his daughters, and held Rebecca in his arms.
"It was amazing. I didn't want to cry but it was really special. It's the most painful thing I ever did, but it was most rewarding thing I've ever been a part of," he said.
"Rewarding" is a fitting way to describe what Rebecca has brought to the lives of English and his wife.
When their youngest daughter was born, doctors told the couple that Rebecca would likely not live past her teens due to a heart condition related to the Down syndrome.
In honour of Rebecca, and others with Down syndrome, English took on this daunting challenge.
"When you do it [the walk], you think of the little things along the way," English said. "You do it to stand up as a leader, and it's a really great cause."
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