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More Than 1,000 Young People and Special Guests Kick-Off Spencer West's 11-Day Fundraising Trek from Edmonton to Calgary

May 6 2013 12:00AM

Marketwire

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EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/06/13 -- There are two photos associated with this press release.

More than 1,000 Edmonton youth and teachers participated in a water walk today to launch day one of Free The Children's We Walk 4Water campaign, presented by SUBWAY® restaurants, where double amputee and Me to We motivational speaker Spencer West will trek 300 km from Edmonton to Calgary on his hands and in his wheelchair to raise money for Free The Children. Money raised will support Free The Children's Water Initiative, a year-long campaign to provide 100,000 people around the world with permanent sources of clean water.

Spencer West and his two best friends David Johnson and Alex Meers, who last summer climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and raised more than half a million dollars for Free The Children clean water projects, began their walk today in Edmonton and will travel through Beaumont, Leduc, Millet, Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer, Innisfail, Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs, Crossfield, and Airdrie, with a final stop in Calgary on Thursday, May 16.

Grammy® and Juno Award winner Nelly Furtado; Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger; Aislinn Paul and Munro Chambers from the hit TV series DEGRASSI; actor, speaker, author and former U.S. Army soldier J.R. Martinez; Survivor winner, philanthropist, motivational speaker and TV personality Ethan Zohn; amongst others will walk alongside Spencer at certain points throughout the walk to show their support for the cause.

"Spencer is a true inspiration with his indestructible spirit and commitment to helping others," said Nelly Furtado. "With support from Canadians, We Walk 4Water will help people around the world gain access to clean water. After visiting Free The Children's communities in Kenya, I was able to see first-hand the impact access to clean water has on the lives of the people. It's a right everyone should have and I am so proud to walk alongside Spencer and support this cause."

Every weekday between Monday, May 6 and Thursday, May 16, West and his team will join hundreds of students and teachers at local schools, holding rallies to kick-off their own We Walk 4Water fundraising efforts. The general public can join alongside their schools and donate to support Spencer's cause by visiting www.freethechildren.com/wewalk4water.

"Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro last summer with my two buddies Alex and David by my side was life changing, though this new challenge from Edmonton to Calgary could prove to be much more difficult," said Spencer West, Me to We motivation speaker. "Not only will the distance be much longer, but 11 days of walking will put a lot of strain on our joints. But we're ready to endure the physical and mental exhaustion that might come our way for an important cause, and we're counting on Alberta for their help!"

We Walk 4Water is presented by SUBWAY® restaurants along with Co-Chairs of We Walk 4Water, Margot Micallef and Rob Chad. Money raised will support Free The Children's year-long Water Initiative to provide 100,000 people around the world with a permanent source of clean water.

Free The Children's international development model is based on a sustainable Adopt a Village model, designed to meet the basic needs of developing communities and eliminate the obstacles preventing children from accessing education. Adopt a Village is made up of five pillars: education, health, clean water and sanitation, alternative income and livelihood, and agriculture and food security. Water is the thread that runs throughout Free The Children's international development model. It allows girls to go to school and women to earn a living. It gives families the ability to cook and clean their food safely and reduces illnesses in marginalized communities where one out of four deaths in children under the age of five is due to a water-related disease.

Follow Spencer West's 11-day journey online:

For safety reasons, the general public is not able to walk along the route with Spencer and his team. Visit www.freethechildren.com/wewalk4water each day of the 11-day walk to view daily photos, video messages and blogs from Spencer West.

Follow Spencer on Twitter - @Spencer2TheWestFollow Free The Children on Twitter - @freethechildrenWe Walk 4Water Hashtag - #WeWalk4Water



Spencer's We Walk 4Water Schedule:

Attention Media: Please contact Free The Children if you are interested in speaking/photographing Spencer along his route. Following, is the tentative date/locations for Spencer's walk, which may be subject to change.

Opening Celebration (Edmonton): Monday, May 6 - Johnny Bright School, 1331 Rutherford Road SW

Day 1 (Monday, May 6)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Edmonton,AB. They will be joined by co-founder of Free The Children, CraigKielburger; Grammy and Juno Award winner Nelly Furtado; and Aislinn Paul andMunro Chambers, cast members of the hit TV show DEGRASSI. Me to We ArtisanMama Leah and Monica, Maasai and Kipsigis women living in the Maasai Mararegion of Kenya, providing for their family through Free The Children'salternative income program, will also be walking with Spencer.Day 2 (Tuesday, May 7)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Leduc,AB.Day 3 (Wednesday, May 8)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking throughWetaskiwin, AB.Day 4 (Thursday, May 9)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Ponoka,AB.Day 5 (Friday, May 10)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Lacombeand Blackfalds, AB.Day 6 (Saturday, May 11)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Red Deer,AB.Day 7 (Sunday, May 12)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking throughInnisfail, AB.Day 8 (Monday, May 13)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Olds, AB.Day 9 (Tuesday, May 14)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Didsbury,and Carstairs, AB.Day 10 (Wednesday, May 15)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking throughCrossfield and Airdrie, AB. They will be joined by actor, speaker, authorand former U.S. Army soldier J.R. Martinez, and "Survivor" winner,philanthropist, motivational speaker and TV personality Ethan Zohn.Day 11 (Thursday May 16)Spencer West, David Johnson and Alex Meers will be walking through Calgary,AB. They will be joined by actor, speaker, author and former U.S. Armysoldier J.R. Martinez; "Survivor" winner, philanthropist, motivationalspeaker and TV personality Ethan Zohn; and Me to We Artisan Mama Leah andMonica, Maasai and Kipsigis women living in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya,providing for their family through Free The Children's alternative incomeprogram.



Closing Celebration (Calgary): Thursday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m. - Mountain Park School, 312 Mount Douglas Close SE

About Spencer West

Spencer West lost both of his legs at the age of five as a result of a genetic disorder. He was told by doctors he would never be a functioning member of society. He has spent his entire life proving them wrong. Spencer is currently a motivational speaker for social enterprise, Me to We, which was founded by Craig and Marc Kielburger. Since he began speaking, Spencer has reached millions of people including students, educators, corporations, colleges/universities, faith-based groups and families with his encouraging words.

In 2008, Spencer travelled to Kenya on a volunteer trip with Me to We to help build a school in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. He credits this experience for helping him recognize his true calling - to motivate and inspire people around the world.

Last June, Spencer successfully reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, raising more than half a million dollars to bring sustainable clean water projects to communities affected by the drought in Kenya. This year, he is embarking on an 11-day walk from Edmonton to Calgary to raise money for Free The Children's year-long Water Initiative, with a goal of providing 100,000 people with clean water for life.

About Free The Children

Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organization's domestic programs-which includes We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event-educate, engage and empower 1.7 million young people across North America, the UK and around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security to one million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.

The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For more information, visit www.freethechildren.com.

About SUBWAY®

The SUBWAY® restaurant chain is the world's largest submarine sandwich franchise, with 33,455 restaurants in 92 countries and 2,555 restaurants in Canada. In 2002, the SUBWAY® chain surpassed McDonald's in the number of restaurants open in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Milford, Conn., the SUBWAY® restaurant chain was cofounded by Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck in 1965. For more information about the SUBWAY® restaurant chain, visit www.freshenergy.com or www.facebook.com/SubwayCanada.

To view the photos associated with this press release, please visit the following links:

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Contacts:
For further information or interview opportunities contact:
Free The Children
Julia Thomas
416-925-5894 ext. 740
Julia.thomas@freethechildren.com





Source: Marketwire