‘Wheels 4 Freedom’ aims to bring recovery house back to Vancouver
Norm Sharkey’s daily routine puts the fitness regimens of men half his age to shame, but it’s not fitness that motivates the 77-year-old. It’s a desire to help others.
Since April, Sharkey has been rollerblading the roughly 10-kilometer loop around Stanley Park on the seawall five times a day, five days a week, to raise money for “Our House,” a program he founded for teenagers struggling with drug problems.
The fundraiser is called “Wheels 4 Freedom.” Sharkey plans to skate the equivalent of a cross-Canada trip -- some 5,300 kilometers -- around the park. Last week, he passed the halfway point.
“Our House West Coast Society,” an extension of the Ottawa-based organization Sharkey founded in 1977, has been based in Metro Vancouver since Sharkey moved here seven years ago. It started in Vancouver, but moved to Surrey last year, when its original home in the Strathcona neighbourhood was sold.
Sharkey is raising funds to move the program back to where it started. He hopes to raise enough money to buy a piece of property in the city, so that it can’t be sold out from under him again.
“We want to get back into Vancouver,” Sharkey said. “Whatever we need, we hope we’ll be able to get.”
Sharkey’s fundraising campaign has a long way to go to reach its $300,000 goal. As of Monday afternoon, roughly $2,500 had been raised.
To contribute to the campaign, visit the Wheels 4 Freedom website.