Dressed in a scene-stealing orange camouflage kilt and custom-made purple T-shirt, Bryce Stetchman hoists a 142-pound stone over his shoulder and takes a step forward.
Slowly, he takes another step. And another. And another.
By the end of 2017, Dec. 31, Bryce will have walked every street in the village of Tofino while carrying this special stone that weighs the same as his wife, Terah, did when she was at her ‘healthy weight’.
For the last three years, Terah has been silently suffering from an immune related disease, which started with a rash around her eye area that quickly spread to her whole body.
Now, it’s gotten so bad that there are days when she can’t even walk because her legs feel numb and heavy. And even after over 30 clinic appointments, including seeing a handful of specialists, Terah doesn’t know what’s wrong with her.
“I don’t have a definitive diagnosis yet and it’s taken three years for them to come up with one idea,” she said.
Out of sheer frustration and hopelessness, her husband of 20 years launched ‘Bear the Wait,’ a unique campaign to raise awareness for those suffering from an undiagnosed disease and waiting for medical treatment.
“I didn’t know what else to do. I’ve gone with her to every appointment that I can. I’ve helped her with the research. We’ve been through everything together and we’re not getting anywhere,” said Bryce.
“As a provider, as a husband and father, as a man, I don’t feel adequate enough. I don’t feel like I’m doing it. When I carry that rock around town, and I share our story, and we get support for Terah, it feels like I’m finally doing something,” he said.
Terah was touched by his creative efforts.
“It felt finally like I could breath and not hide anymore,” she said. “That was the whole point of this too, it’s not just me, there are a lot of families out there that are like us.”
Bryce and Terah hope their campaign will bring together more people that are waiting in frustration for answers to their health problems.
Anyone interested in learning more can visit the Facebook Page ‘Bear the Wait.’
“We’re waiting to find out where to start,” said Bryce. “That’s why I started this different kind of campaign. It’s the wait time. The wait doesn’t go away.”
On New Year’s Day at 3p.m., Bryce will be at Tonquin Beach lifting heavy rocks from 110-pounds to 260-pounds for the Battle of the Se7en Stones. The Highland Games inspired event is a fundraiser for Terah’s medical expenses.