Hospice Buffalo, the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care in Buffalo, NY was lucky enough to host Dr. Colin Skinner, British scientist and renowned World Walker, as he makes his way on foot across America and parts of Canada. He’s making the trek to raise awareness and money for hospice care around the world.
This is a cause that is near and dear to Colin Skinner. Twenty years ago he walked across America for cancer relief and hospices. In 2003, his mother died of pancreatic cancer, and that tragic event led Colin on this new 6,000 mile mission, to walk for hospice, in memory of his “mum”, Monica Pickford.
Colin, as he prefers to be called, started his journey in New York City on August 21, 2009 and arrived in Buffalo on Thursday, September 10th.
He spent three nights at Hospice Buffalo’s newest facility, St. John Baptist Hospice Buffalo House. This eight bed building is located on Buffalo’s east side and provides comfort and care for patients who are in their final months of life.
Colin’s belief is that everyone has a story to tell and he feels that part of his mission on his walks is to meet as many people as possible, and listen to their stories. While he was at St. John’s, residents and staff alike had a wonderful time, meeting and spending time with him. Listening to his tales of his cross-country treks, and also sharing their stories with him, touched everyone in a very profound way.
During a small reception for Colin, St. John’s residents and their families were treated to a slide show of Colin’s previous trip across the United States. Photos chronicled his journey from Manhattan to San Francisco. He told of his struggles with 105 degree heat in NY, mosquito attacks in the Great Lakes region, and snowshoeing through the Rockies in the winter with only a sleeping bag and small tent to keep him warm. Encounters with wildlife while camping included bears, raccoons and a pack of wild dogs. But he also met many people who had been touched in some way by hospice care.
After narrating his 6,000 mile trip, he asked if anyone had any questions. One of our residents raised her hand and said, “So… are your feet tired?” He does admit to having blisters from walking, sometimes 16 hours a day. Although, he did say that while he was in Buffalo, his feet hardly hurt at all and his blisters were healing.
Wherever Colin goes, around the world, he makes and keeps lasting friendships. His time in Buffalo, and especially at St. John’s, was no different. We all count ourselves as friends of Colin Skinner. He has our stories and our hearts.
Colin has written a book, Beyond The Setting Sun, about his previous walk across America twenty years ago. He offers a slide show presentation about that trip. Proceeds from the sale of his book go to benefit hospices.