Alexa Rathgaber is an active, outdoors oriented university student who is on a mission to raise awareness about mental health. Alexa was introduced to the audience at the M.E. Day Event on Monday, November 20. It was there she explained that since October 1, she’s been walking across Canada to raise awareness and funds to support mental health initiatives like Speaking Through CRAIG.  

Rathgeber is in her third year of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. The idea to accumulate the mileage equivalent to a walk from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Tofino, BC came from her love of the outdoors. 

“I’m an outdoors person,” Rathgaber says. “I was always going for walks and curious as to how much I was doing each day, so I just started tracking it. I was curious so I googled the distance of Saskatchewan north to south and said I think I could do this in a year. It was a fun challenge, and I discovered different trails doing it, so that was a lot of fun.” 

When she wrapped up the accumulated mileage for the latitude benchmark, she decided to find a new challenge. She decided to put herself up against the entire country. 

“I don’t have the time or money to walk across Canada, but I can do the kilometres and track it just as I did with Saskatchewan.” 

She set a time commitment of two years to complete the walk, especially with the motivation of providing support for mental health endeavours like the M.E. Day.  

“I have family members and friends who have struggled with mental health,” Rathgaber confides. “I had heard about Speaking Through CRAIG through my dad and people he works with, so I reached out to see if they would be interested in connecting. From there, it grew into something bigger than I thought it would, so I’m walking to raise money for their charity.” 

In addition to the charitable side of the challenge, Alexa also wants to promote awareness around the connection between the outdoors and exercise in sustaining positive mental health. It’s an area that she has come to understand both through personal experience and through her studies.  

“I strongly believe that getting up and moving your body for 15 minutes a day can help improve your mood and change your mind set for the day.” 

To donate to the cause or find out more, head to Facebook or Instagram and search “Alexa Walks Canada.” 

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