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After Reaching the Summit of Africa's Tallest Mountain, Double Amputee Spencer West Sets His Sights on Canada in Support of Free The Children

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TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 03/26/13 -- How far would you walk for a drink of water? Every day, people around the world spend 200 million hours collecting water - usually women and girls walking with heavy loads. On Monday, May 6, 2013, Me to We motivational speaker Spencer West will embark on We Walk 4Water, an epic 11 day, 300 km water walk from Edmonton to Calgary alongside special celebrity guests, local Alberta schools, friends, and family, in solidarity with people who walk hours each day collecting water for their families.

Last year, Spencer West, who lost his legs at the age of five, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. The effort garnered international media attention and raised more than half a million dollars in support of clean water. From May 6 - May 16, 2013, West is bringing the journey to Canada and calling on students for help, as he travels on his hands and in his wheelchair across the province to raise money for Free The Children's Water Initiative to bring clean water to people all over the world.

West and Free The Children are challenging schools in Alberta and across Canada to raise $25 per student - enough for every student to provide someone with clean water for life. Schools are encouraged to hold their own fundraising walks, special movie nights, book sales, food sales, etc., at any time during and leading up to Spencer's 11 day journey from Edmonton to Calgary, helping to raise money for Free The Children's Water Initiative.

"You don't have to climb a mountain to make a difference - that's why I'm challenging schools and communities in Alberta and across Canada to take part in this journey with me," said Me to We motivational speaker, Spencer West. "Every day, people around the world spend 200 million hours gathering water. Here at home, we just turn on the tap. Only $25 provides one person in Free The Children communities with clean water for life - think of the impact we can make!"

Spencer West will travel through cities such as Red Deer, Innisfail, and Airdrie with a celebration at the finish line in Calgary, to raise funds and awareness for the 780 million people worldwide who do not have access to safe drinking water.

"Spencer is an inspiration to people around the world," said Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder of Free The Children. "This walk will not only inspire us here in Canada, it will help change the lives of people halfway around the world by helping to build, support and maintain infrastructure such as pump systems, boreholes and wells, and hand-washing stations and latrines for schools."

How else can you support Spencer?

We Walk 4Water is part of Free The Children's year-long Water Initiative to provide 100,000 people around the world with a permanent source of clean water. Individuals can also contribute to We Walk 4Water by:

-- Donating $25 to provide one person with clean water for life - www.freethechildren.com/water-- Buying a Water Rafiki Friend Chain to provide one person with one year of clean water - www.metowe.com/waterrafiki-- Follow Spencer and his team as they blog en route. Updates at www.freethechildren.com/wewalk4water



Why 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 illness in marginalized communities where 1 out of 4 deaths in children under the age of five is due to a water-related disease.

About Spencer West

Despite losing his legs at the age of five, the inspirational Spencer West hasn't let anything stand in his way. As a Me to We motivational speaker and author, Spencer has travelled the world sharing his humour, humility and message of triumph with millions of people.

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. He captivated audiences of tens of thousands at We Day events with his keynote address, and has shared the stage with such influential people as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, Mia Farrow, and his musical idol Jason Mraz.

In 2008, Spencer travelled to Kenya on an international volunteer trip with Me to We and helped build a school in a rural and improvised community 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 year, Kenya experienced its worst drought in 60 years, and its effects are still being felt. In its time of need, Spencer decided to give back in his own unique way - by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. His extraordinary feat attracted worldwide media attention, including CTV, CBS, The Telegraph, People Magazine, and The BBC. With the world watching, Spencer successfully reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, raising over $500,000 to bring sustainable clean water projects in communities affected by the drought. Once again, he had redefined possible. More information available at www.metowe.com/spencer.

Follow Spencer on Twitter - @Spencer2TheWest

Follow Spencer on Facebook - www.facebook.com/Spencer2TheWest

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.

Follow Free The Children on Twitter - @FreeTheChildren

Follow Free The Children on Facebook - www.facebook.com/FreeTheChildren



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



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