ALBERTA

Spencer West's Edmonton To Calgary Walk Complete (VIDEO)

05/16/2013 05:43 EDT | Updated 07/16/2013 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - Sore, but in good spirits, double-amputee Spencer West completed a gruelling 11-day trek from Edmonton to Calgary on Thursday.

West covered the 300 kilometres partly on his hands and partly in a wheelchair.

Throngs of children were cheering as a widely grinning West and his two best friends, David Johnson and Alex Meers, crossed the finish line at a Calgary school.

It was an emotional scene as Johnson and Meers embraced West and planted kisses on the top of his head.

"They're just as sore as I am. My poor buddy Dave, his knee his bothering him. My poor buddy Alex, his ankle is quite destroyed. We really leaned on each other in these past few days," said West.

The aim of the journey was to help raise funds for Free the Children, which has the goal of providing 100,000 people in developing countries with a permanent source of clean drinking water.

West says he also wants to help Canadians understand how far people in developing countries — mostly women — have to walk to gather water for their families.

He said he was inspired by Albertans he met along the way.

"We have been so humbled by the incredible response and we put out the call to Albertans and they answered tenfold."

For instance, West said a man on a motorcycle stopped him on Wednesday to hand him a bag of cash, explaining that it was his entire tax return.

The journey also took them through the troubled community of Hobbema in central Alberta, which West admits he was "a bit" worried about visiting.

"The entire community came out to welcome us and to say that they support us on this walk for water," he said.

Last year, West scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, but he says the walk from Edmonton to Calgary was much more difficult.

For starters, West and his friends travelled the near-equivalent of a full marathon every day.

"On top of that, it was the same motion over and over again, so literally right now my arms are so sore from doing that over and over and over again," he said.

West's legs were amputated when he was five years old because of a genetic disorder called sacral agenesis.

"I was told I would never walk or be a functioning member of society, but not only did we climb the largest mountain in Africa, but we just walked 300 kilometres across the province," he said.

"If I can do that, what more can we all do for each other, for the local community, for the global community to make the world a better place?"

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Spencer West's Trek From Edmonton To Calgary