Howie English says he isn't the type to cry -ever - but when he talks about why he's walking from Maple Ridge to Burnaby this weekend, he gets emotional.
"I'm a really tough guy. I never cry, but I get choked up if I talk about this," he says. "It's pretty tough."
What's tough is talking about his five-year-old daughter, who was born with Down syndrome, and how she's never been invited to a birthday party, and how she's sometimes left to play alone at school.
"I went to see her, and it broke my heart, and I started crying," he says. "People don't really understand. ... She's so amazing."
English, who manages Kaplan's Deli in Vancouver, is planning to walk for roughly six hours on Saturday, March 23, from his hometown of Pitt Meadows to Burnaby to raise money and awareness about Down syndrome - all in the name of his youngest daughter, Rebecca.
English is aiming to raise $10,000 for Burnaby's Down Syndrome Research Foundation, which runs programs for children and adults with Down syndrome.
English is no stranger to fundraising walks. Following the Canucks riot, he trekked from Pitt Meadows to Horsehoe Bay to raise money for vandalized businesses. Last year, he walked from Pitt Meadows to Maple Ridge and then Horseshoe Bay and back, raising money for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. When English first started training for his fundraising walks, he was so broke he couldn't even afford a gym membership, so he walked around a track in Coquitlam every day before and after work - rain or shine.
This year, when he reaches the finish line, the Down Syndrome Research Foundation will be hosting a celebration and barbecue at 12:30 p.m. The foundation is at 1409 Sperling Ave., and the public is invited to attend.
English would like to raise people's awareness about Down syndrome.
"I think people become desensitized," he says. "I guess people are just afraid. They don't understand people are just different. ... Don't be afraid, treat them exactly as someone else, with heart and caring."
Every person can make a difference in someone's life, he adds.
"It doesn't take a lot to make an effort."
To donate to English's walk, go to dsrf.org/skywalk.