Dawn’s Story

Back in September we reported about Dawn’s intentions to complete a walk in honour of her late husband. Here is an update of her story.

In September 2016, I accepted my friend’s invitation to join her on the last leg of the Camino de Santiago. I felt the walk would be a chance to reflect on my life with Peter who died October 2015 and also an opportunity to increase awareness and to raise funds for the invaluable work of the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

Twenty-five 60 to 80 year old women were in our group.  They asked about the Kiss IPF Goodbye and Breathing Should Never Be Hard Work T-shirts so I was able to talk about CPFF and IPF. Also, our local paper the Delta Optimist, published pre- and post-walk articles plus an article about Fran Schooley’s nomination for the September Kiss IPF Goodbye Champion.  I had and still have people asking questions.

I knew the G-Adventure Tour required us to walk 114 km in 6 days through Galicia, Spain but wasn’t sure what to expect. When our first day began with a long flight of stairs and then a steep hill, I thought “Okay”, this will be interesting.”  It turned out to be a wonderful 6 days, some more challenging than others but certainly manageable and very enjoyable.

We walked along bough covered forest trails and through peaceful farmland. Along the way and in medieval towns, villagers and other pilgrims called out, “Buen Camino!” We were fortunate to avoid hot sun, the dreaded blisters and sore muscles.  Absence of rain was another bonus.  Our guides thanked us for carrying ponchos in our daypacks as Galicia has the highest rainfall in Spain!

Many thoughts come to mind when I’m asked about trip highlights.  On the second day, a small, beautiful, sunlit pine tree in a sheltered area came into view. Another forest path led off perpendicular to the one I would be continuing on. This spot seemed just right for the “Granpa Peter” heart-shaped memory stone I carried (Peter was looking forward to the arrival of his first grandchild in May 2016).  I’m comforted every time I think of that special place.  I found out later that the nearest town is named Momentos.

I also had the honour of placing a “Remember Me” symbol for a friend’s son and lighting a memorial candle for him and Peter in a Medieval Church. The peaceful countryside, the company of other women sharing life stories, encouragement from family and friends plus the financial support for CPFF were inspiring and humbling.

Having this opportunity was a blessing.

Thanks to Robert, Heather and the rest of the team at CPFF for your dedication.

Note: Dawn’s walk raised close to $3,000 for CPFF. Thank you Dawn for a wonderful story and tribute to your husband Peter