“Being able to breathe independently again, after two years, was incredibly emotional,” he said.

To raise funds and awareness, Chris walked from Calgary to Edmonton one year and began from Lethbridge the next. Since 2020, he has raised over $100,000 through the Walk to Breathe campaign.

READ: Sadlier reaches Lacombe in Lethbridge-Edmonton “Walk to Breathe”

This year’s goal is to raise $100,000 more, according to the charity’s website.

Alberta Lung states the donations have gone towards one of their boldest initiative yet – the Breathing Space.

They say the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton is one of only four transplant centres in the country that performs all solid organ transplants.

However, roughly 77 per cent of Albertans live outside the Edmonton Region, resulting in an out-of-pocket expense for those moving into the city for a lung transplant as it is not covered by healthcare.

“It is very often a significant hardship for patients, so some choose death over bankrupting their families,” the charity said in a release.

Described as a home-away-from-home for lung transplant patients and their families, they say the new facility and its programs will give patients “breathing space” to regain their strength and vitality after surgery, without having to invest financially.

Funds raised through the campaign will also support other Alberta Lung programs, running since 1939:

  • Breathe Smart! Education Program
  • Pediatric CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Program Financial Assistance for Medications
  • Lung Disease Research
  • Radon Awareness Program
  • Aero Chamber Program
  • CPAP Refurbishment Program

Interested participants of all fitness levels can join the campaign for free by registering through their Facebook group and completing any physical activity of their choosing.

“Every breath, step and move minute counts,” said Alberta Lung in a statement.

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