Chris Sadleir’s father was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a lung disease to which Sadleir’s father has no known cause nor cure.
The only way to save his father was a double lung transplant, which he received in 2016.
At the end of 2019 and being inspired by his father, Sadleir approached the Lung Association with an idea to walk from Calgary to Edmonton – a total of about 330 km. That year, he came through Sylvan Lake.
It was a tremendous success, said Sadleir.
“We set a goal and we crushed our goal last year.”
It’s great to meet people during the walk, he added. “People will come up to us and tell us stories about their loved ones who have had a double lung transplant or their loved ones with severe asthma.”
Sadleir’s parents also take part.
“My parents became the rock stars of it because that was what the whole journey is based on. They were also with me every step of the way last year driving the support vehicle behind me.”
At the very beginning of 2021, Sadleir thought about doing a second Walk to Breathe.
“Do I have another round in me, do I have enough gas in the tank,” he thought.
Last year was indeed a tremendous success, and the fifth anniversary of his father’s transplant is coming up so he decided to approach the lung association again.
“Hey, if we are doing it this year I want to do it further, longer, more gruelling, and more logistically-challenging, so I want to go from Lethbridge to Edmonton – over 500 km – in 17 days.”
The Lung Association was behind him all the way.
Now he is currently doing his walk and everything is going well, except for the weather.
“You know it’s beautiful weather if you’re out camping or swimming but when you’re walking 30 km a day it’s pretty treacherous,” he says of the temperatures which have been in the high 20C to mid 30C range since he set out from Lethbridge.
The goal this year for the walk is to raise $50,000 for the Lung Association, said Sadleir.
“I know we can crush that for sure.”
Sadleir will be arriving back in Edmonton on July 23rd – five years to the day his dad had his double lung transplant.
“I’ll actually be crossing the finish line if I time it out properly between five and six which will almost be to the minute that he went in.”
People can donate at www.ab.lung.ca/walktobreathe.
There are also many things going on with social media so that people can follow the entire journey, said Sadleir.
“With Twitter it is at SadleirChris, Facebook is at CKSadleir, and Instagram is at Sads216.”
Ultimately, it’s also a way to bring awareness to lung disease, said Sadleir.
“I’ve gotten tremendous media coverage from newspapers, television and radio – whatever the case may be – everywhere from Fort MacMurray to Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Grand Prairie,” he said. “We’re knocking down that negative stigma of lung disease.”