A Calgary firefighter took on a gruelling challenge a year after being diagnosed with cancer.
Lorne Miller ran the Goggins Challenge. Along with some friends, he rotated running four miles every 4 hours for 48 hours.
Friday at noon he ended that journey at the Auburn Bay Community Centre. He endured the tough beating on his body, because he was inspired by three-year-old Sawyer Velting. He started the fundraiser to help his family.
Velting is navigating a type of sarcoma similar to the one that Miller beat. He survived cancer after a volleyball-sized tumour was removed from his abdomen in 2021.
Sawyer got him through the hard parts of his run.
“I thought of Sawyer the whole time. When I was having a tough night, I was imagining what Sawyer must be going through,” Miller said.
Sawyer’s younger brother Bennett and his mom and dad — Ashley and Kaylen — surprised Miller on one of his final legs of the run.
“You just feel it in your heart. We had a beautiful hug and it was amazing, it was powerful,” Miller said. “I am so grateful they joined us and so grateful to be in a position to help them as others helped us.”
The Veltings wanted to run a part of the challenge alongside him.
“It is hope. He’s been through this, so it’s great seeing people on the other side of treatment. It’s refreshing for us to see,” Kaylen Velting said.
Miller’s wife, Lindsay, said her husband is a champ.
“It’s the journey we were given so we were going to walk it together,” Lindsay said. “When he was first diagnosed, he thought he would never run or never be able to go back on the fire truck, so this is proving to him and the rest of the community he can do absolutely anything.
Heather Roy wanted to be at the finish line also. Her family met Sawyer when her 11-year-old daughter Evelyn was going through pediatric cancer treatment. Evelyn lost her life in February 2020.
“We love Sawyer, that’s the heart of it,” Roy said. “Sawyer is one of my favourite little humans. We are here as emotional support. We know what it’s like to be in the space they are in.”
The Velting family is so appreciative of what Miller has done. They too have plans to help others, thanks to the firefighter who became their hero.
“We are proud of him,” Velting said. “We hope to do something when we’re through this, so we will pay it forward.
“It’s very special for sure. I don’t even know a lot of these people and it’s crazy the community support.”
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