How it works

More than just outdoor activities, these expeditions are an opportunity for participants to meet other young people who share the same realities, to discuss, to understand each other and to build friendships while participating in an extraordinary challenge.

Nothing!

Our expeditions are totally free. We provide ALL the equipment and ALL meals; we take care of ALL activities, ALL accommodation and transportation. Participants even receive an airline or bus ticket to the starting location. It doesn’t get any freer than that…

Lots of great people!

Ten to fifteen young people from across Canada who are living with cancer. Those currently in treatment or living with limitations due to cancer can take part in our Getaway Expeditions, while those in remission can participate in our Great Expeditions.

Old enough to go on an adventure!

Some groups are composed of young people aged 14-18 and other groups aged 19-29.

Again, lots of awesome people!

A doctor, a nurse, a psychosocial worker, professional adventure guides, a blogger/photographer and of course, two On the Tip of the Toes Foundation facilitators.

At locations throughout Canada!

So far, our expeditions have taken us walking in the Arctic, sailing around Cape Breton and the Magdalene Islands, paddling the Pacific coast, dogsledding in the Yukon, shooting the rapids in northern Ontario, trekking in the Rockies, snowmobiling in northern Quebec… the list is almost 60 expeditions long!

Thrilling adventure activities!

The activities vary from year to year: canoeing, kayaking, rafting, sailing and trekking in the summer and dog sledding, snowshoeing, skiing or snowmobiling in the winter.

Smooth and gradual…

The first nights are spent in a cottage or inn while we get to know each other, master the basics of the planned activity and learn about outdoor equipment and the art of packing. We then leave civilization to get off the beaten track. The level of difficulty and the distances covered increase gradually as the days go by. We often sleep in tents (even in winter, in heated tents) or in a shelter. There are many pleasant moments of sharing and reflection interspersed with the adventure activities.

The first step is to select the expedition in which you want to take part. You will then be invited to fill out a form which tells us more about you. Next you discuss the project with your doctor. Once these steps have been completed, there is a second form to fill, more detailed than the previous one. Several health professionals in Canadian hospitals are familiar with the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation and may accompany participants throughout the registration process.

If none of the expeditions currently offered seem to be suitable for reasons of scheduling conflicts or for any other reason, it is also possible to register on our recall list. We would then contact you at the launch of our subsequent expeditions.

Health and safety of participants

As therapeutic adventure specialists, the health and safety of the youths participating to our expeditions is dear to our hearts. We are proud of the fact that there have been no accidents in 20 years of expeditions.

Before leaving on an expedition, there will be a meeting with participants, parents, guides and the medical team to present the details of the travel plan. This meeting is a good place to address concerns and questions about the program.

The On the Tip of the Toes Foundation relies on the collaboration of a medical advisory committee composed of oncologists, emergency physicians, general practitioners, psycho-social oncology nurses and social workers from across Canada. This committee is responsible for determining the medical criteria for participation in expeditions and, if necessary, will reassess the individual’s ability to participate in the planned expedition.

Although the guides and other Foundation personnel are trained in wilderness first aid, it is important for us to have the presence of health professionals at all times while on expedition.Therefore, every expedition includes a doctor, a nurse, and a social worker.

The first aid kit developed by our medical team includes medication to deal with any eventuality, and our cutting-edge communications equipment allows us to keep in touch with civilization when we need to. Each expedition includes a satellite phone as the main means of communication as well as an internet connection, satellite module and satellite beacons for sending text messages. Although all our equipment is of high quality and in excellent condition, we nevertheless carry spare equipment and repair kits.

For each expedition, the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation prepares complete rescue and emergency plans, including contact information for emergency services and the nearest hospitals. The time needed for a possible evacuation is accurately assessed and the trip is planned so as to be able to deal with any emergency. These plans are shared with the local police force prior to the expedition in order to facilitate their intervention if necessary. To date, such a situation has never arisen.

In addition to the medical staff present on the expedition, Foundation facilitators are trained in wilderness first aid, as are the adventure guides who accompany us. Our facilitators are all qualified professionals with degrees relevant to our practice, such as a BA in Outdoor Recreation or a certificate in Youth Intervention.

See our Accreditation, Awards and Recognition page for all our certifications!

Getaway Expedition and Grand Expedition - what's the difference?

The Getaway Expeditions

Les expéditions Évasion s’adressent aux jeunes en cours de traitement de cancer ou vivant avec des limitations des suites de leur cancer. Elles prennent place sur le réservoir du Poisson Blanc, un plan d’eau de 85 km2 parsemé d’une centaine d’îles. D’une durée de 4 jours, les expéditions se déroulent à l’automne et sont composées de groupes de 6 à 10 jeunes adolescents (14 à 18 ans) ou adultes (19-29 ans).

The Grand Expeditions

Les grandes expéditions sont une occasion unique de vivre une aventure en nature d’une durée de 8 à 15 jours. Destinées aux jeunes en rémission de cancer, elles se déroulent à l’été tout comme à l’hiver, dans certains des plus beaux coins du pays. Les activités pratiquées sont variées, allant de la randonnée pédestre, à la descente de rivière, en passant par la pratique du traineau à chiens. Deux Grandes expéditions sont offertes à chaque année, l’une pour les adolescents (14 à 18 ans) et l’autre pour les jeunes adultes (19-29 ans).