'The walk is for all Albertans': Edmonton man launches 500 kilometre walk for Lung Association

Beginning at House of Cars in Lethbridge, Chris Sadleir will walk all the way to Edmonton in just 17 days, averaging around 30 km per day.

This morning Chris Sadleir went for a walk, but it wasn't just a simple stroll to the park or around the neighbourhood.

Instead, the walk symbolized the beginning of a 500 km long trek that will cover much of the province.

Beginning at House of Cars in Lethbridge, he’ll walk all the way to Edmonton in just 17 days, averaging around 30 km per day.

Although this is the second-straight year Sadleir has taken on a challenging journey for his 'Walk to Breathe' fundraiser, he's tacked on an additional 210 km for this year's walk.

He's hoping to see a lot of friendly faces along the way to motivate him over the finish line. Even if he has to crawl his way to Edmonton.

"Fifteen kilometres into the day, that's when fatigue starts setting in and you're really only halfway through your day," he said.

LUNG DISEASE

Lung disease is something that he's seen first-hand and it's a cause that’s very close to his heart.

“The inspiration for the walk to breathe comes from my father and my mother, my determination for doing the walk is for all Albertans," said Sadleir.

Several years ago, Sadleir’s father began to suffer from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) which is essentially scarring of the lungs.

He needed a double lung transplant which he was lucky enough to receive, but Sadleir knows that not everyone is as lucky as his father.

'WALK TO BREATHE'

At a media event on Tuesday, Bernadine and Toby Boulet spoke with media to show their support for the 'Walk to Breathe' campaign, and to highlight the importance of organ donation.

Their son Logan was one of the 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos tragedy roughly years ago.

Logan's organ donations saved or improved the lives of six people which in turn caused a surge in people registering as donors.

The Boulets are looking to keep that momentum going and when it comes to lung disease, donations are crucial.

"The people who have severe lung disease, they will need that lung transplant," said Bernadine Boulet.

"We know that there's not a lot of lungs available because lungs are something that you can only get from a deceased angel donor."

Boulet said that approximately 92 per cent of Canadians said they want to become organ donors, but right now, only 32 per cent are actually registered as donors.

While most won't need a double lung transplant, Sadleir wants Albertans to know just how far-reaching lung disease can be.

"It's an unfortunate guarantee that I can make, but whether it's directly against you, or someone in your family, someone that you know, you will experience lung disease in your lifetime as an Albertan," he said.

Recent estimates show that one in five Albertans will be affected by lung disease at some point in their lives.

Last year when the Lung Association saw a dip in donations due to COVID-19, Sadleir was able to raise $33,000.

With the added distance to his walk this year, he's kicking things up a gear raising the goal to $50,000 and he's already received more than $25,000

While the next 17 days may be exhausting he knows that he has plenty of support behind him.

"It really is inspiring and it really keeps you going to hear those honks, see those waves,"

Donations for the Walk to Breathe campaign can be made at the Lung Association’s website.

With files from Quinn Keenan