Chris Sadleir on his Walk to Breathe will be making a stop in Sylvan Lake en route from Calgary to Edmonton on Aug. 12.
The 330 km solo journey from Aug. 7-17 is to raise awareness and funds for the Lung Association of Alberta and Northwest Territories, serve as a reminder for organ donation and to honour his dad.
Sadleir’s father, Rob, received a double lung transplant as a result of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
“The Lung Association obviously became very close to me and my family, it was a very large scale ordeal,” explained Sadleir adding the event made it clear how important the association is.
“The Lung Association is so far reaching, so much more than I even knew, which leads me to believe that millions of people have no idea what falls under the Lung Association banner,” he continued.
For example, he says, aside from lung cancer, conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and COVID-19 fall under their umbrella.
“The science and the medicine and all that stuff is fine for diagnosis and deciding that you need a transplant, but if the organs aren’t there then you’re going to lose people along the way,” said Sadleir of why the organ donation aspect is important.
This will be the first time Sadleir has carried out a Walk to Breathe and making the route run between the two major centres seemed logical.
The 45-year-old will walk 30 kilometres a day for 11 days with no one but a support RV, driven by his parents, to keep him company.
His journey will put him through Sylvan Lake on Aug. 12 where a rally will be awaiting his arrival in Lion’s Legacy Park from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The rally, which is about six hours into his day, will have balloons and treats for the kids and a sign making station for anyone who wants to show their support as he arrives.
“Since this is around the halfway mark, we’re hoping we can motivate him and support him for the second half of the walk,” said Jennifer Hutchinson, organizer of the rally, in a Facebook message.
Proper distancing measures and hygiene will be instilled to keep everyone safe, she added.
Attendees will also be able to learn more about living with lung disease as well as have the opportunity to donate to the cause.
Donations are also being accepted online at ab.lung.ca/walk2breathe.
“We decided on a $22,000 donation goal and that’s symbolic in that the average human being takes 22,000 breaths per day,” explained Sadleir.
“Being an Alberta boy born and raised, I’ve seen the generosity time and time again from all walks of life across Alberta… I feel we can crush our goal.”
After his stop in Sylvan Lake, Sadleir will continue north through Bentley before heading on to Falun.
At the time of publication, the walk had raised over $19,000 according to the donation page.
Sadleir says the walk is a province-wide initiative and if he makes it an annual event he would consider changing the route to run through a different area of Alberta.