CANADA 769 DAY WALK
June 20, 2000 August 9, 2002
This was Step By Step 3rd Campaign, the Canada 769 Day Walk. Liver Transplant Recipient George Marcello continued his journey of addressing Canadas organ & tissue shortage. He carried an Olympic style Torch called the Torch Of Life in memory of Victor Davis. His goal was to wake up Canada by inspiring the media, public & 3 levels of Government. Mr. Marcello continued to conduct thousands of consultations and gathered invaluable information that expanded and confirmed his previous campaign, the Ontario Walk.
Pope John Paul 2 asked George to join him at Vatican City. On September 5 2001, his holiness blessed the Torch and proclaimed to the world, that organ & tissue donations, is a Genuine Act of Love. He also urged George to pass the Torch to the Youth, who would eventually become the voice of Step By Step.
CANADA 769 DAY WALK BEGINS
Torch of Life is born
June 20 2000: Toronto Canada
Step By Step launched the Canada 769 Day Walk. We started at Danforth Collegiate Technical Institute that morning and made our way to Queens Park. After getting blessed by Ontario Parliament we made our way to Toronto City Hall. It started as the Canada 500 Day Walk; it soon became the Canada 600 Day Walk, only to eventually become the Canada 769 Day Walk. During the period before our Kickoff, the Step-By-Step team was working around the clock to raise $750,000.oo to meet the budget for the entire Walk Campaign. Things looked very optimistic, several large corporations made promises; government grants seemed attainable, especially after the positive impact and recognition Step By Step received by the entire Province of Ontario. On kickoff day, we had exciting activities planned throughout the city of Toronto. This including stops at the City Hall, Parliament Building, and different ethnic neighborhoods. All the media outlets were covering our activities, along with notable Politicians, celebrities, athletes, and many people. Everyone showed up enthusiastically, except for the people who were going to present the cheques. It seemed like we had all the eggs in one basket and the basket didnt appear. The Step-By-Step team was devastated. With no foreseeable funds coming in and with only $5,000.00 in our budget, everyone panicked and collapsed and the majority of people resigned. The dream that had so much hope, so much glory, was turning into a nightmare on Day 1. During the campaign leading up to the kickoff, over 90 cities and towns on the Canada 769 Day Walk schedule had worked very hard preparing activities and were very excited to have Step By Step visit them. George was prepared not to let them down; he was not going to let his mom down, and all those people who still believed in the dream. With a dismal budget of $5,000.oo, a borrowed vehicle and no permanent road crew, George marched on under the divine inspiration of Whitney Houstons song Step By Step.
Torch Of Life gets lit
It was here that the Torch of Life was officially lit by Mayor Mel Davis. He then passed the Torch to a Donor family member who then passed it onto a person waiting for an organ transplant. That day Step By Step had a mere $6000.00 in the budget. We organized 500 communities and over 100,000 individuals to participate in over 4,000 events. In every community we coordinated activities with the media, members from all 3 levels o9f government, schools, churches, malls, festivals, service clubs, cultural groups, sports events, army - police - firefighters - and ambulance forces. We invited people from all walks of life and different agencies and organizations. We conducted over 1000 press conferences and consultations. Discussions, debates, and workshops became a daily activity. We had no permanent road team. We had to recruit road team members 27 times during this campaign. I suffered physically with e-coli, influenza, infections, and something new hypothermia. I was stalked by a cougar and came face to face with a black bear. Dogs would chase me once a week. I felt the roar of many transport trucks in 9 different seasons on many roads and highways. I wanted to give up 113 times. On the road we would beg for food and shelter. We distributed hundreds of thousands of donor cards. We met and inspired health officials in each province. Our goal was to wake up Canada.