June 24th, 2024

Walk to Breathe making strides for Lung Association support

By Dale Woodard on July 7, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard - Chris Sadleir, the founder of Walk To Breathe, met with Bernadine and Toby Boulet at the media kickoff Tuesday afternoon at the House of Cars. The second annual Walk To Breathe begins this morning as Sadleir walks 500km from Lethbridge to Edmonton to raise funds for the Lung Association of Alberta & Northwest Territories.

With a deep breath, the Walk to Breathe campaign gets underway today.
As Chris Sadleir gets ready for a 500km jaunt from Lethbridge to Edmonton this morning to raise funds for the Lung Association of Alberta and Northwest Territories, his second annual trek inspired by his father has already had plenty of life breathed into it.
Looking to raise $50,000 this year after bringing in more than $33,000 last year, the Edmonton resident, who attended Lethbridge College in the late 1990s and early-2000s, is already near the halfway point of his goal before he even leaves town.
“So far we’ve raised just shy of $25,000,” said Sadleir at a media kickoff event Tuesday afternoon at the House of Cars.
“Our big push starts with the walk part, so I’m pretty excited. The inspiration for the walk really comes from my father and mother. My determination for doing the walk is for all Albertans. I also say if anyone reading or watching this story would afford me those two minutes to go to the website, read the backstory behind the Walk To Breathe, and donate what you can, we would end up crushing our goal.”
Sadleir was joined at Tuesday’s event by Toby and Bernadine Boulet, the parents of Logan Boulet, who was one of 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April of 2018.
Their son’s decision to become an organ donor saved six lives and created the “Logan Boulet Effect” prompting hundreds of thousands of Canadians to fill out out their organ donation cards.
The seeds of the Walk To Breathe campaign were planted six years ago when Sadleir’s father was having trouble breathing and was tired all the time.
“We chalked it up to him getting older and maybe a little out of shape and a little overweight,” said Sadleir. “Fast forward to the diagnosis and he had Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is essentially the scarring of the lungs. There is no known cause for it. He wasn’t a smoker or anything like that. There’s no known cause for it and certainly no cure.”
The only cure for Sadleir’s father was a double lung-saving transplant, which he received nearly five years ago to the day on July 23, 2016.
“If anybody has ever watched a human being struggle to breath, it’s devastating,” said Sadleir. “Not only for the person who is trying to take in the air, but watching them struggle – the family, friends and co-workers – it’s very unpleasant to watch. So it was a quite an ordeal, not only for my dad, but everyone in the family. I and everyone else in my family were thrust into needing to learn about lung disease, what it was all about, and how we could help my dad.”
As he learned about the illness, Sadleir got to the know the people at the Lung Association and in late 2019 and early 2020, and started to form the Walk To Breathe.
Last year, he went from Calgary to Edmonton – a trek of 330km – that raised $11,000 more than his original goal of $22,000.
This year he wanted to go further– choosing Lethbridge as his starting point with the plan to arrive in Edmonton July 23.
Sadleir puts his foot to the pavement this morning at 8 a.m. to begin the walk to Edmonton.
“Nervous excitement,” he said about his feelings about getting on the road. “I don’t know if it has hit just yet, I guess (it won’t) until we start walking (this morning). What really inspired me is the people we met along the way last year and the stories.”
Sadleir’s parents travelled with him last year and will do so again this year.
“My parents became the rock stars last year,” he said. “People who are going through their own lung disease wanted to meet my dad and get a picture taken and talk to my mom because she was the family rock behind all this and kept everyone sane throughout the entire process. Just to hear those honks and see those waves and see the support along the entire journey was tremendous.”
In addition to their son’s decision to become an organ donor creating the Logan Boulet Effect, Toby and Bernadine created Green Shirt Day – which started in 2019 – in support of organ donor awareness.
Bernadine said it was an honour to work alongside Sadleir in continuing to spread the word of the importance of organ donation.
“We know the people who have severe lung disease will need that lung transplant, and we know there aren’t a lot of lungs available because lungs are something you can only get from a deceased angel donor,” she said. “It’s important for people to have that conversation so their family knows if they’re ever in a situation where they are able to donate, we don’t want their family to be stressed about that when they’re having to deal with a tragedy; that their family knows what they want and what their wishes are. Having that conversation beforehand is important so people like Chris’s dad, Rob, are able to have that second chance and live on and have more time with their family and friends by being fortunate enough to have that lung transplant.”
Those wanting to make a donation or read the history of the walk can visit http://www.ab.lung.ca/walktobreathe.
Sadleir can also be reached on his journey on Facebook at @CKsadleir, on Instagram at @sads216 or on Twitter at @sadleirchris.

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