By Woodard, Dale on October 13, 2020.
Kaelee Steele strolled down the sidewalk alongside Henderson Lake Sunday morning, her fists thrust triumphantly up in the air.
Considering this was no regular walk, her enthusiasm was understandable.
As the clock struck 11 a.m. on a cool Sunday morning with the wind whipping in off the lake, Steele completed a 24-hour walk that doubled as a fundraiser for the homeless.
“I feel like it hasn’t ended yet at this point, honestly,” said Steele, who celebrated the 24-hour mark with some supporters and took a moment to do some stretches. “My legs are are fully asleep, I can’t feel them at all. So I’ll probably keep walking at this point.”
The goal of Steele’s walk was to raise $2,400 for Alpha House Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter.
As of Sunday night, her Go Fund Me page had raised $1,910.
“I’ve been doing different what I call ‘Kaelee Helps’ things for the last few years,” said Steele. “So I’m just trying to get out into the community and raise awareness of different things going on and trying to help out. With COVID-19 I had a bunch of really cool ideas this year and most of them got halted due to the situation. So I was trying to come up with a way to do something big before the summer and fall ended as long as it was safe for everybody.
“I was one of those kids who did walkathons every year when I was in elementary school. It was something I was comfortable doing and I felt if I raise the stakes a little bit I’ll get more attention. So I tried to do it for 24 hours.”
Starting on the northside, Steele took a few breaks over the course of her walk.
“I had to take a break about 15 hours in because of my legs,” she said. “So it’s about an hour and a half of stretching out and trying to get them to wake up again.”
A veterinarian assistant at Green Acres, Steele also had some support over the course of her jaunt.
“I have this huge support system,” she said. “The people I work with at Green Acres is my family. There were people bringing me a turkey dinner or walking along with me for most of the way.”
With her walk finished and nearing the $2,000 mark, Steele eyes up some other projects for the community, including a canned food drive between other veterinarians in Lethbridge.
“So we’ll be going hard with that and then it’ll just be whatever I decide to do next,” she said.
However, she hopes the message behind her walk finds it’s way to others.
“I want people to look at it and realize that the homeless population is part of our community,” said Steele. “You don’t think of them as your neighbours because you don’t see them in the corners and such. But they are a part of Lethbridge as much as I am and it’s important for us not to ignore them and to be able to help them whenever we can.”
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