An Alberta man is in the midst of a 500 kilometre walk across the province, inspired to raise money for lung disease research after watching his father recover from a double lung transplant.
Chris Sadleir is walking from Lethbridge to Edmonton for his “Walk to Breathe” fundraiser, to raise money for the Lung Association of Alberta and Northwest Territories.
“This is the second year,” Sadleir said on Monday from near Vulcan. “Last year was the inaugural year.”
He set off from Lethbridge on July 7 and is set to arrive in Edmonton July 23.
“The inspiration comes from my father and an ordeal he had with a lifesaving double lung transplant five years ago. (It was) quite an ordeal for the family — we became close with the lung association. I approached them with this idea to do the Walk to Breathe.”
In 2020, Sadleir walked 300 km from Calgary to Edmonton and raised over $33,000. This year, his goal was raised along with the distance to $50,000.
“Last year, we did Calgary to Edmonton, and it was a tremendous success,” he said. “The people we met, the stories, the money we raised, the awareness we raised was fantastic.
“So I thought, ‘Do I have another year left in me? Do I have enough gas left in the tank for another year?’ Yes, I do.” he said.
“But let’s do it further, longer, more grueling. The response has been great.”
The length of the walk itself is grueling, but Sadleir said the hot temperatures this year have added an additional mental undertaking.
“I’ll walk 10 km in the extreme heat, not a lick of wind or breeze to keep me cool,” he said. “I’ll walk 10 km, I’ll take a break. I start walking again, and it’s like I haven’t gone anywhere because everything looks the same.
“Don’t get me wrong — It’s absolute beautiful, rolling prairies here. But you start going a little squirrely.
“When it’s that hot, and you’re that fatigued, and everything looks the same, it seems like you’re running on a treadmill.”
Sadleir said that he did learn to take care of his feet quickly after his experience last year.
“I don’t want to be too graphic, but I’m not putting up with the blisters this year,” he said. “I get them, I cut them, I wrap them. Honestly, the feet are holding up really well. Right now it’s the mental game.
“The determination in doing the walk over the last two years is really for all Albertans,” Sadleir said.
“Although I’m doing the main corridor Lethbridge to Edmonton, make no mistake about it, this is a province-wide initiative.”
So far, Sadleir has raised just under $30,000 of his $50,000 goal, but added he is “very confident in Alberta’s generosity.”
Donations can be made to the Walk to Breathe campaign online.