Gateway Gazette

The Long Way Home Pauses in Okotoks

By Pam Jones, Editor.

A journey from Nipawin, Saskatchewan to Chilliwack, B.C. can be daunting at the best of times but riding a horse and walking alongside it is a sheer feat of determination.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kate MacEachern, Rebecca Santanna and her team members last week as they came through Okotoks on just that journey. Having left Nipawin on May 1st they expect to arrive in Chilliwack on July 24th.

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Kate MacEachern, standing and Rebecca Santanna on Champagne

Their organization is called “The Long Way Home” and it is committed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) support, fundraising and advocacy.

Funds received during their journey will be distributed to these well deserving groups.

Accompanied by EMS driver, Justin, their team drivers, Lisa Peterson and Joanne Gilliland (Gunny), who has seen combat and suffers from PTSD, they stopped for a chat on the north side of Okotoks. The group have four benefactors this year: Alpha K9, Paws Fur Thought, the Wounded Warrior Weekend Foundation and the Nash project, which also has an equine therapy program.

Service dogs and equine therapy programs are helping veterans, first responders and civilians cope with this disorder and are gaining amazing ground.

Gunny pointed out that Kate also suffers from PTSD and it is a disorder that can affect anyone not just soldiers or first responders.

The group stayed the night near Aldersyde and attended a social at the Okotoks Legion.

The Long Way Home group have put in three years and over 6,000 training and walking kilometers in order to achieve their focus for this year of ‘coping and healing’.

If you would like to make a donation to this organization please contact Kate – her email is kate@thelongwayhome.ca.

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