Over the busy din in the high ceilinged room applause ripples from the group of RCMP members dressed in shorts and matching T shirts. Flash bulbs pop making Nick squint, as he stands awkwardly, embarrassed by the attention. People, their curiosity piqued by the assembly stop to look and BCTV with a massive camera film his suddenly shy smile.
A tired but elated group of Castlegar RCMP arrived this afternoon and a few days earlier than planned. The crew of ten RCMP and auxiliary members took turns running 624 km from Castlegar to Vancouver, over mountain passes, through 3 nights and 3 1/2 days – a solid 84 hours of steady moving.
They rested in shifts inside a trailing motor home donated by a Castlegar business. On the back of it hangs a hand drawn banner of a blue sky, a bright yellow sun nestled behind purple mountains and green trees in the forefront surrounding a blue lake. At the bottom of the picture is an outline of the province of BC. Above the drawing in huge letters is “Mounties Marathon for Nick.” The same image is on the T-shirts the police are wearing. The drawing was one picked from many submitted by school kids from our area.
One man steps forward with an offered hand and Nick extends his. The group drifts around my family, we shake hands and accept hugs, everyone wipes at wet eyes.
“Nicholas, on behalf of all of your friends, old and new we want you to know how proud we are of you.” He is given a get well card almost as tall as he is, signed by the dozens of people who gave so much effort to make this monumental event happen.
FH is taken aside by a friend of ours who is an auxiliary member. “I’m shocked. No one was prepared for how sick he looks.”
Nicholas and I are watching TV in his hospital room. FH and Frankie have gone out to have supper with the group from Castlegar tonight. This morning the media picked up on “Mounties Marathon For Nick.”
We watch the coverage on the news as the RCMP is filmed running beside the Trans-Canada Highway through the Fraser Valley. Goose bumps cover my arms. I can’t believe the wonderful things people are doing to help us. I’m so homesick I want to cry.
Patients and their families, hospital staff and people from the Ronald McDonald House (House) have stopped by Nick’s hospital room or phoned to let him know he is a “Star.” His smile is sleepy.