Kelowna man walking to Kamloops to honour the residential school 215

Walking in honour of 215

Starting Friday morning, Robin Mercer will be walking from Kelowna to Kamloops in honour of the 215 Indigenous youth whose remains were discovered at a former residential school site.

Like so many Canadians, Robin has been trying to honour the 215 children found in Kamloops. While he was speechless after the horrific discovery, he found his own way to commemorate them by walking the 215 kilometres from his house to the school site.

“Honestly, I just have no words to describe how this makes me feel. This was a tipping point for me in my own life and I wanted to do something to honour the memory of the children, and people have posted many things. I’m not so good with words, so I tried and I tried, but I couldn't do it. My wife and I were talking one day and I just decided to do this in memory of them,” said Robin.

Residential schools are something that impacted Robin’s family, as he had family members who attended. He says the walk is in honour of the 215 children who attended the Kamloops school and didn’t make it home, but it's also in memory of everyone who ever attended the schools, including his family.

“It's to honour the 215, but I'm walking for so much more as well. This is for anyone who has ever been affected by residential schools, for my own family, my grandmother went to a residential school, and her parents did too,” said Robin. “The whole thing just breaks my heart, and I want to honour these children and anyone else who went through this system. I want to get people thinking and talking about this more.”

Robin has started a fundraiser page on Facebook, with all the funds going directly to the Indian Residential School Support Society. He set the donation goal for $215, a modest number, because he feels overall awareness is most important. If you’d like, you can follow his journey and make a donation here.

Robin is hoping to average 54 kilometres a day, and his wife Heather will be setting up camp ahead of him so that he is able to eat, hydrate, and rest. He’ll bring a backpack with all the essentials he needs, and is hoping to make it by Monday.

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