After starting a run from Sault Ste. Marie to Toronto on March 25 to raise money for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, the Sault’s Jackson Taylor finished his gruelling journey at the Ukrainian Consulate in Toronto Tuesday afternoon.
He ran 1,017 kilometres in total.
“I hadn’t picked a spot to end my run specifically until we got closer to Toronto and then the run to the consulate made the most sense. Originally we just planned the Toronto road sign as the final destination, but then I knew I’d end up picking something more significant based on the nature of the run,” Taylor told SooToday in a telephone interview from Toronto upon completing his run.
“I feel great but my knees and ankles are glad that I’m done,” Taylor said.
Taylor, accompanied by wife Emilie in a vehicle along the way, raised over $5,100 for Ukrainian civilians affected by war through a GoFundMe page.
That particular page is no longer accepting donations, but a new separate GoFundMe page is currently accepting funds to go to Ukraine.
“Watching the news and seeing the different things coming up, I started to get frustrated with everything going on with the war. It made me want to do something to make a difference and raise some money,” Taylor said.
Taylor was met by friends and family at the consulate Tuesday.
“It feels good to help,” Taylor said.
He and his wife will be taking turns behind the wheel as they travel back home to the Sault tomorrow, he said.
Another interesting side to Taylor’s efforts is that fellow Saultite, Robert Peace, Rolling Pictures community relations director for the film company’s Sault Ste. Marie operations, is currently in Romania with European non-profit group ADE to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukrainians while helping others to get out of the country as reported earlier.
Taylor - a local landscape business owner - and Peace did not know each other at first, neither were they aware of their mutual interest in Ukraine.
“That was awesome when we made that connection with Robert. He saw one of our videos and he contacted us and wanted to set up a meeting to talk with him. We had a video chat with him and have been in contact ever since,” Taylor said.
“Diana Nistor of ADE and myself and Jackson and his wife Emilie spoke on Zoom and we just felt this wonderful connection of four people doing something for the same cause and thought we should join forces,” Peace said in an email.
Funds raised on Taylor's new GoFundMe page will go to ADE, the humanitarian group Peace is working with in Ukraine.
Neither Peace nor Taylor has any family or heritage connection to Ukraine but felt the need to help Ukrainian civilians affected by the war.
“It is heart wrenching meeting families at a train station who only have left what they could carry. Homes and sometimes family members are lost. But then we also see those who are already beginning to make at least a temporary new life with families who have opened their doors and hearts to refugees,” Peace said.