On Saturday evening, retired Corporal Kate McEachern made a pit stop in our region to relax and refuel her batteries at Black Jacks Roadhouse in Nisku. She is walking across three provinces, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC with a 60lbs pack on her back to raise awareness and funds for PTSD support.
The Long Way Home started on May 1st in Nipawin, SK and will reach Chilliwack, BC in late July. So far, the response has been extremely positive; for this third walk, Kate had a special companion for the first thirty days of her journey; her son Tyler, eleven years old, ran with her every day. He was allowed to miss four weeks of school to support his mom’s passionate mission, but finally had to return to home and school.
Wheels For Our Wounded is a group that provides opportunities for wounded soldiers to benefit from riding a motorcycle even if they cannot walk properly yet. Like equine therapy, bike therapy allows the patient to focus on the ride, and not on the past or the future. This group was founded by Renée Charbonneau, McEachern’s operations manager, a passionate motorcyclist who also suffers from PTSD. She embraced Kate’s mission and decided to organize her annual ride around Kate’s schedule.
More than 200 motorcyclists joined in the Poker Run and gathered with other supporters in the late afternoon at the Roadhouse for a good time of live music, food, fellowship and fundraising. Kate’s everyday crew consists of two horse riders and two team drivers. She is grateful for the hospitality and generosity of those she met who believe in her and the value of her trek.
On the morning of Sunday, May 31st, Kate walked from Nisku to the Leduc Legion where she was met by Legion officials, staff and a small group of supporters. A $3,000 cheque was presented to her by Legion president Sean Cuppens and First Vice-president Cy Young, an amount contributed by the Legion members and executive. City of Leduc Councillor Bob Young was moved by Kate’s mission and shared that he was glad to have met this inspiring young woman.
Kate’s journey continued that day, on to Millet and Wetaskiwin. A map of her travels is posted on her website www.thelongwayhome.ca. Contributions can still be made to help her inspired mission. PTSD sufferers, know that you are not alone, many people care.