It’s Sunday morning and Mark Stockford is walking around the 5B unit at St. Paul’s Hospital. He’s been walking for about half an hour, three times a day during his lengthy stay on the unit. But on this Sunday morning, whenever he passes staff on the unit, nurses, physicians and support staff break out in cheers and applause. It’s not that Stockford is doing anything unusual by walking around his unit, in fact patients are often encouraged to walk to speed their recovery.

By taking the 277 steps it takes to circle the unit, Stockford is walking to raise money for Telemiracle and for St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation.

Mark Stockford receives a donation from a hospital visitor as he walks the halls of 5B at SPH. Nurses on the unit helped Stockford decorate his IV pole with balloons from his 51st birthday the day before.

“For Telemiracle, it just so happened that it’s Telemiracle weekend, so it all goes to a good cause,” says Stockford as he treks around the unit, the squeak of his IV pole announcing his arrival. “I’ve been in this hospital numerous times and over quite a few months this last time, and I’ve had such excellent care from the nursing staff as well as the doctors and even the cleaning staff I’ve met treat me with such dignity that I just wanted to give something back to the hospital.”

Instead of writing a thank you note or a similar gesture, Stockford was inspired by a co-patient who walks with him regularly. “She said, we should do a walkathon and I thought about it and thought it was a good idea. I did up a pledge form and since then, I’ve gotten lots of support from friends, family and the staff,” says Stockford.

His wife Brenda took the idea and started texting friends and family. “He’s very community-minded,” says Brenda. “He’s done lots of things around Kindersley (where they live) for the community.”

Next thing, Mark Stockford had raised $1,500 in pledges and donations as well as the commitment by a corporate donor to match those pledges for a total of $3,000.