Sisters by blood and sisters in memory of Rita

CLARENCE CREEK | Twelve days, 230 kilo- metres, 324,000 steps. That is the length of the journey, in time and in distance, for Lyne Shackleton and her sister, Nathalie Lalumière, last month

as they walked from Ottawa to Montréal to honour their mother, Rita. In their minds, the journey was even lon- ger as they shared childhood memories of their late mother, and the bond of love that held them all together until ovarian cancer took her away from them. “It’s a lot of steps,” Shackleton said. “We laughed a lot and we cried a little. We sang and danced in the streets and at times we were silent. It's also a journey within our- selves.” The laughter and the tears came easy enough. The singing and dancing too, and was fitting because, as Shackleton has noted in the past, their mother, Rita, was a women who loved life and lived it all the time, even until the end. “It was a special time for the two of us. A time to just be together.” For Shackleton, this year’s Walk of Memo- ries is the second pilgrimage she has taken upon herself to honour her mother’s cour- age and promote greater public awareness about ovarian cancer. Last year, the journey was about half as long. A week spent walk- ing from Rockland, Ontario, to the cem- etery a short way across the Québec border where their mother is buried. She was alone on the road, except for her husband follow- ing behind or marking the way ahead with the support van. This year, Nathalie joined her for an even longer trek in memory of Rita, one that started from the Basilica in Ottawa and fin- ished at the Oratory inMontréal. For the two

of them, it became a very spiritual journey. “Time has no meaning when you’re walk- ing along,” Shackleton said. “It is such a feel- ing of freedom. The stress just leaves and you’re within yourself, and you’re in the mo- ment. When you’re walking, you get to see things and you get to meet people. Every- thing slows down. It’s a very Zen feeling.” The preparation time leading up to this latest Walk of Memories has also seen Shackleton discover new strength in herself to see her along the way. “I packed and trained and organized for this second adventure for months. The heat, the humidity, the rain, it's all part of the journey. It's not about getting to your desti- nation, it's about the journey getting there, the people you meet, the beautiful scenery that surrounds you.” Shackleton smiles as she recalls a favou- rite saying of her sister, Nathalie. “My sister says ‘shoes and a smile, they both will get you anywhere and every- where.’” Shackleton smiles again. “And in the meantime, I will continue on my mission to raise awareness about ovar- ian cancer, one step at a time.” Groups interested in a free presentation on ovarian cancer, and a more detailed ac- count of Shackleton’s and Lalumière’s Walk of Memories for Rita can email Shackleton She will also pro- vide information on what Ovarian Cancer Canada is doing to raise both research funds and public awareness to fight the disease.


Photo Nathalie Lalumière

Lyne Shackleton at her journey’s end at the Oratory in Montréal.





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