Walk To Breathe goes virtual

Chris Sadleir and his parents during the Walk To Breathe event. (Photo submitted)

Chris Sadleir and his parents during the Walk To Breathe event. (Photo submitted)

Over the last two years, Chris Sadleir, the founder of Walk To Breathe, has walked 840 kilometres to raise money and awareness for Alberta Lung. But this year, due to health concerns, Sadleir is hoping Albertans will step up, instead.

Last year, Sadleir walked from Lethbridge to Edmonton, coming through Sylvan Lake, and the year before he walked from Calgary to Edmonton, raising almost $100,000. But this year, he won’t be able to participate.

“I’ve got some bone and ligament damage,” he explained. “So I have to heed my doctor’s advice. I have some healing to do to get back on track.”

In honour of the 840 kilometres Sadleir has walked to date, he’s hoping 840 participants from across the province will step up and walk a kilometre a day for 10 days and raise $100 each. The virtual event will run Sept. 7 to 17.

“It’s never an easy ask,” said Sadleir, “to ask people to dip into their pockets and donate money.”

The money raised during this year’s event will go towards Alberta Lung’s Breathing Space facility. This will be a building in Edmonton that acts like a Ronald McDonald House, but for lung transplant patients, Sadleir explained. Edmonton is one of only three transplant centres in the whole country, so people come from a long way.

Sadleir began Walk To Breathe in honour of his father, who received a double lung transplant in 2016. During this year’s event, Sadleir’s father will turn 73.

“My dad had no choice but to have the double lung transplant. We didn’t know anything about his condition, what was going to happen, what we had to do. So there was a lot of learning we had to do. Everything worked out well for my dad, but that’s not the story for most people,” said Sadleir. “One in five Albertans struggle to breathe every single day. And that doesn’t take into account the toll it takes on their family, friends and co-workers. Every Albertan will be affected by some sort of lung disease in their lifetime.”

Sadleir said there continues to be a lot of stigma around lung disease, because people believe it’s caused by smoking. But he said a lot of conditions fall under lung disease, such as asthma or sleep apnea.

“Alberta Lung seriously underfunded by the government,” said Sadleir. “Lung disease is not just elderly smokers. It affects so many more people. Lung disease is around us every day and it does not discriminate against age, race or gender.”

Visit Walk To Breathe on Facebook to learn more about this virtual event and how you can sign up for the walk. Registration is $35 and each participant will receive a t-shirt. There are also prizes that will be given away.