BRITISH COLUMBIA

Dan Lundy Drives From Prairies To See The Ocean Before He Goes Blind

08/21/2015 07:48 EDT | Updated 08/21/2015 07:59 EDT

Born and raised in the landlocked Canadian Prairies, Dan Lundy had never seen the ocean. And he feared he wouldn't get a chance to get to the coast before he went blind.

Lundy, a married father of three, was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that will eventually rob him of his eyesight. dan lundy

Now 34, Lundy has already lost his peripheral vision and is completely "night blind."

In July, his doctor in Saskatoon told him the condition was progressing quickly. So Lundy sat down and made a list of all the places he wanted to visit before he went blind.

"I always wanted to see the mountains and oceans," Lundy told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview. "It was always kind of a dream."

He posted the list on Facebook, where his sister-in-law, Jean Lundy, read it from top to bottom.

One thing jumped out at her: see the ocean before it was too late.

A secret plan

Jean decided to secretly launch a GoFundMe campaign to cover the costs of food and accommodation to make the road trip a reality.

"My birthday is coming up soon," she wrote in the page's description. "So instead of buying me anything, how about you help me get [Dan] and his family to B.C. this summer?"

Within 24 hours, the campaign hit its goal of $3,000, so Jean upped the limit, hoping to pay for repairs to the family van.

Just three days later, strangers helped meet that goal too, and Jean surprised her brother-in-law with the news.

"You just don't expect people to care that deeply about you," Dan said. "You read stories all the time, but you never think it'll happen to you," he said.

On July 30, the Lundys packed up and set off from their Saskatchewan home towards the West Coast.

dan lundy

"Every turn through the mountains was just, 'Oh my goodness,'" said Lundy of driving through the Rockies. "Just those mountains, they changed every turn you took."

Lundy has a vivid memory of stopping in picturesque Lake Louise.

"I'd seen the classic picture with people standing in front of the blue lake and the mountains... but then you see it in real life, and it's just, wow," Lundy said.

Just when they thought the trip couldn't get better, a surprise guest joined the family en route to Victoria, B.C.

"My son, he's autistic, and he's always had this fascination with orcas," Lundy explained. "Everyone was saying there's a small chance you'll see one when you cross on the ferry, but we were like, 'Nah' — but then, halfway through, a pod of orcas surfaced right by the ferry.

"That made his trip."

The Lundys spent a day at Clover Point beach near Victoria, B.C., which Lundy said was surreal.

dan lundy

"It was more than what I thought it would be. The pictures I'd seen and the way people discussed it just doesn't do it justice," Lundy said.

"It just became real at one moment: the tide was coming in and the waves were crashing on the rocks... it was just amazing."

Leaving to go back to reality, on the other hand, was tough.

"That was hard. Way harder than I thought it would be," Lundy said. "All of us were emotional."

After they got home, the family created a Facebook page to post photos of their trip as a way to thank everyone who made their trip possible: "It was all so unexpected, but just such a blessing."

As for what's next, Dan said the family will be taking a break from travelling for the next while as the kids head back to school -- but that doesn't mean he's giving up on his list.

"I mean, there's obviously still stuff you want to do," he said. "But we'll just have to get there when we get there."

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