Who Was Gary?

Gary Smith

A brief history of Gary

Gary Smith was a healthy, esteemed athlete in his 50s who was a gold-medal winning basketball player in the World Masters Men’s Basketball League and a player on the Canadian National Men’s Basketball team when he was young. He was also a respected high school basketball coach and high school principal.

For more than a decade, Gary suffered from chronic heartburn and remedied it with non-prescription antacids. In December 2005, Gary started suffering from back pain, a symptom that would be diagnosed as esophageal cancer four months later by Dr. Brock Pullen at Royal Columbian Hospital. Sadly, Gary passed away in September 2007 at the age of 60.

What’s new?

As everyone is aware, we are experiencing some very strange times. We have decided to cancel Gary’s walk this year (2020) because we were unable to get a permit from GVRD. We would encourage everyone to enjoy Minnekhada park while practicing physical distancing guidelines and visit Gary’s bench at their leisure as long as the park is open.

A new page has been added to this site “Donation Dollars at Work” where you can see pictures of the scopes that have been purchased.  In addition to this website, be sure to Like the Gary’s Walk Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @GarysWalk and Instagram [email protected]  to help us spread the message.

A history of the walk

In April 2010 a memorial bench was placed in the park and that is when the first walk took place. In September 2010 an article about Gary and the walk was included in the Royal Columbian insert in the Vancouver Sun paper. In April 2011 and 2015 articles were in the local paper about the walk. In 2011 over $30,000 was raised for a scope at the Royal Columbian Hospital. In 2014 two gastroscopes were purchased and in 2017 a transnasal scope was purchased. In addition, an information brochure was published with the help of the Royal Columbian Hospital and was distributed at the walk. In 2016 and 2017 a billboard advertising the walk was set up outside the Royal Columbian hospital. Since 2012 supporters of the Gary Smith Cancer Fund have helped raise over $121,112.00. RCH is in the process of using more funds to purchase another scope. Thank you to everyone who supports the cause.

What to expect on that day

Everyone is invited to participate by walking, running or hiking. People are encouraged to choose their own routes through the park and to visit Gary’s bench based on their preference. Gary’s family will be in the parking lot during this time to meet and greet everyone.

All graphics created by Cliff Blank.

Facebook page managed and created by Cliff Blank.