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Inspired and compelled by celebrity luminaries including The Barenaked Ladies and Serena Ryder, as well as some particular youth favourites such as Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, the feeling at We Day 2013 in the Air Canada Centre was electric.
What is it about walking? What is it about assembling en masse in giveaway T-shirts to shuffle down blockaded streets for free chocolate milk and a participant medal? It seems to bring out the good in everyone with the promise of exercise and altruism in five-kilometre increments.
On the final day of our trek from Edmonton to Calgary to raise money for clean water overseas, we're just outside the city limits of Cowtown. I can see Calgary's skyline, and after 10 straight days of walking on my hands, it's like a mirage in the desert.
The act of walking forward is a truly life-affirming motion. In life, we are always moving forward in some way, whether through space, time or in growth. The way we travel forward defines us. If we travel with positivity, pace, good humour and graciousness, we always arrive in the right place.
When we set out to walk from Edmonton to Calgary three days ago, we didn't really know what to expect. Last summer our journey to raise money for clean water in developing communities had us climb Kilimanjaro, but in some ways Alberta's flatlands offer more unforgiving terrain than mountainous peaks.
Never tell Spencer West that he can't do something. A congenital spinal disorder rendered his legs useless, so at age five, West underwent a double amputation to remove them. His biggest challenge -- so far -- was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity last June. Today, we were with West as he kicked off the We Walk 4Water campaign, starting a 300-kilometre trek from Edmonton to Calgary.