Pink primate on wheels going cross-country for cancer

Pink primate on wheels going cross-country for cancer

A Winnipeg man setting out on a cross-country trek to raise money for cancer is hopeful fraud charges he’s facing here in the city won’t raise concerns for possible donors to his cause.

Kyle Andrysiak strapped on his inline skates Saturday and set out on the Trans-Canada Highway toward the West Coast and back in hopes of raising cash for cancer-related causes.

It’ll be really hard not to see him — he plans to do the gruelling trip while wearing a fuzzy, hot pink gorilla suit.

Andrysiak, 23, has been attending various Winnipeg events since 2011 in his primate getup, including various cancer-awareness related events, he says. 

Injured in what he called a “terrible” car crash in 2015, Andrysiak says the incident and his recovery changed his attitude toward life and spurred a major desire to make a difference.

Kyle Andrysiak, 23, set out on a fundraising trek on the Trans-Canada Highway in a pink gorilla suit Saturday. He says he isn’t concerned fraud charges he’s facing in Winnipeg will deter donors. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Supporting the fight against cancer seemed like a natural fit given how it has affected so many people, including his late grandmother and his grandfather, who is battling the disease, he told CBC News.

“It’s hurt us all in one way or another,” he says. “If the world ended tomorrow, what do I have to show for it?” he says he thought to himself.

Fraud charges

Andrysiak is one of several people charged by Winnipeg police last December in connection to a fraud ring that had allegedly used out-of-province bank accounts, driver’s licences and forged records to obtain eight luxury vehicles with a combined value of $520,000.

Two vehicles were later recovered in a shipping container in the port of Montreal, bound for overseas, said police.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Andrysiak told CBC News he is innocent and isn’t concerned the charges will affect his fundraising.

His lawyer, Martin Pollock said what Andrysiak is doing is “admirable.”

“People should give their full support to this cause and have no concerns about where the money will go,” said Pollock.

Andrysiak’s planned route will take him through the mountains to Vancouver, where he’ll turn around and make his way back to Thunder Bay to conclude his trek at a memorial statue of Terry Fox. 

Winnipeg police told CBC News Saturday Andrysiak does not have any court-imposed restrictions on his movement.

He plans to blade 100 kilometres a day for 53 days, calculating the total trip at more than 5,200 kilometres. His girlfriend, Sydney Fritz, will follow in a support car.

Andrysiak has started a GoFundMe page in hopes of covering the costs of the trip, with any residual money going to an as-yet undetermined cancer cause. Donations and pledges coming in through a separate blog site will be donated in full, he says.

He plans to camp along the way with an occasional motel stop. In mountainous stretches where it will be too dangerous to skate, Andrysiak says he plans to run them instead.

Published at Sat, 18 Aug 2018 18:59:55 -0400