Edmonton’s Chis Sadleir is preparing to embark on the Walk to Breathe Driven by House of Cars, a 500 km walk from Lethbridge to Edmonton with the goal of raising $50,000 for the Lung Association of Alberta & Northwest Territories.
Last year, Sadleir completed an 11-day, trek from Calgary to Edmonton to support those dealing with lung disease and increase awareness of its far-reaching effects.
“A lot of people, including myself thought that was a once in a lifetime thing to raise awareness, raise funds and do something good. I never ruled out doing it another year, I needed time to recuperate, I wanted to do it again this year, do it further, longer, and wanted to raise some more money,” Sadleir said.
Through the Walk to Breathe, Sadleir wanted to honour his father, a double-lung transplant recipient.
“My father was having a lot of trouble breathing, he was fatigued all the time, we chalked it up to him getting older, it got worse and worse he was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), which is a scaring of the lungs. There’s no known cause for it and no known cure, the only cure is a double lung transplant,” Sadleir said.
“As my father was going through that, watching him struggle to breathe and struggle to live as he was waiting for that phone call that might have never come, it’s not only mentally, physically and emotionally draining on him, but also on the family. It’s not just the person afflicted with it, it’s the entire family that has to watch them suffer and go through that,” he said.
Not only was Sadleir’s father the inspiration, but his mother was too, as she was his father’s support person and a rock for the family during that time.
“Over the last five years I’ve learned so much about the far-reaching effects of the lung association, how grossly underfunding it is, and how many things fall under the lung association that people don’t realize,” Sadleir said.
When Sadleir walked last year, his parents drove the support vehicle behind him and were with him every step of the way.
“It became a personal thing that resonated with a lot of Albertans, a grassroots approach. I wanted to do something province-wide, far-reaching, and present the facts,” Sadleir said.
“Having my parents behind me was awesome, they became the rock stars of the campaign, people would pull over on the side of the highway and introduce themselves, so many people told me their stories,” he added. “It took on a life of its own, that’s what makes the experience absolutely unbelievable, the tears, the emotions, and the support every step along the way.”
Going into the Walk to Breathe, Sadleir didn’t know what to expect, or how his body would react to the journey.
“I’m an average guy, I have flare-ups or arthritis, but that’s nothing compared to what people have to go through when they cannot breathe,” Sadleir said.
Sadleir also ran it many challenges including poor weather, intense hills on secondary highways, and hurt feet.
“It didn’t matter how much gauze and bandages I brought, my feet took a pounding,” Sadleir said.
Going forward, Sadleir is preparing for the Walk to Breathe when he can.
“I’m getting my walks in where I can. I simply cannot find enough time in the day to train for 30 km a day, but it’s symbolic I can’t prepare for this like I want to, because people struggling to breathe and waiting for a lung transplant didn’t prepare for that, they just got dealt a bad hand, and they have to deal with it the best they can,” Sadleir said.
“My struggles are going to be absolutely nothing compared to what people with lung ailments, respiratory issues, and lung disease go through, truly,” he said.
Sadleir can guarantee everyone in Alberta will be affected somehow in their life by lung disease, respiratory illness, or lung ailments.
“There’s a misconception that lung disease is an old smoker’s disease, that is such a narrow scope, and could not be further from the truth,” Sadleir said.
For more information, to follow Sadleir’s journey, and to donate visit, https://www.ab.lung.ca/walktobreathe, or on Instagram at
“This year, I was planning on the walk anyway, but a member of the extended family passed away due to complications from COVID-19. My father is the inspiration, this year it’s hitting close to home,” Sadleir said.
Adding, “It’s increasing for everybody and anybody, it’s so far-reaching that people don’t know.”