This summer, as more than 200 Canadian Armed Forces members made their way to the Netherlands for the internationally renowned Four Day Marches Nijmegen, their contingent included, for the first time, a cadet.
Alex Wishart, from Portage la Prairie, AB, not only became the first Canadian-cadet ever to take part in the marches with a contingent of soliders, but he accomplished this incredible feat while undergoing treatment for Leukaemia.
As the youngest person of the Canadian contingent, Wishart, 16, remembers the “weird looks” he got when first joining the contingent.
However, that all changed with time.
“They learned my story and became more accepting of me,” remembered Wishart.
Wishart, is a Cadet Master Warrant Officer with the 19 Royal Canadian Cadet Corps. Making the trip over to the Netherlands for the marches is something Wishart had wanted to do for a number of years.Thanks to his father’s efforts, he was finally given the green light this year.
Wishart had been training for several months prior to train his body for the gruelling task ahead. The Nijmegen Marches require participants to walk 40 km every day for four days in 30 degree weather.
As difficult as the Nijmegen Marches are, Wishart enjoyed experiencing “something bigger than himself,” a fact he realized while in camp with military members from around the world.
Diagnosed with cancer at 14, Wishart believes his time in Nijmegen is a culmination of so many challenges and experiences in his lifetime and taking part in the Four Day Marches Nijmegen had an additional significance for him.
“My grandfather was there on D-Day so it was crazy to relate that to my own past,” stated Wishart.
With such a strong personal connection to the military a part of Wishart’s life, he is now looking to apply to the Royal Military College of Canada after graduating from high school this year, a year earlier than the rest of his age group.