Blog 20  – 7 Million Steps – Meet Kay Ledson

My Walk CV

Many of you don’t know me; other than the Warrior Mom passionate about below injury activity based therapy for SCI.

As I walked today I was struck by how I was managing to walk the distances I have done these past 37 days.

How the Walk Came About…

Four families contacted me in the same week asking me to meet them when I travelled to the USA to launch my book in April 2015. Researching where they lived I thought it won’t happen, they were all living in parts of the US that I wouldn’t be able to get to! In frustration I called to God how can I help these families and instantly I was “commanded” to walk across America – this was in late 2014. At the time I thought that made sense and so the journey began!

I thought I might give you a short insight into my life:

I love my family, Josh, Amelia & AJ and my sisters and brother.  I live for hanging out with them at every opportunity. I love my grandson AJ with the passion of a grandma and really want him to get to know his grandma KZE

I have never hiked in my life! The only walking I have done was on my trips to Bali over the years where I love strolling the beaches for hours and hours and various trips to Europe where I really enjoy wandering around the old cities.

I am a city lover, born in South Melbourne and for the past 25 years, living within walking distance of the City of Melbourne.  

I love my coffee and have a passion for drinking premium / super premium wine every night!

I have travelled extensively in the Australian Outback through my past work life, and frankly it holds no appeal for me, I actually have no desire to ever return to it! I love the beach, water!

I enjoy visiting the treed areas near where I live but as I am terrified of wild fires, I have no wish to live there!

I love living in apartments, but I no longer own any real estate and for the past 8 months I have lived with my sister Wendy.

I hate camping with a passion.

I get lost easily, and if I don’t have my sat. nav. I get seriously stressed!

I am always losing my car in parking lots and have had to resort to taking pictures on my phone so I can find it!

I am not wealthy, having lost everything in 2010 as a result of the global financial crisis…

This walk will cost me personally over $100,000; in the two trips to promote it, all my travel / insurance expenses for this trip and I have taken leave of absence from my part-time job, so I am not earning any money while walking. I will return home in March 2018 with little or no money / savings.

The Quad Foundation is paying for food, supplies and fuel for the walk. They have not contributed to my travel expenses. The only money I will earn on this trip is through selling my book and the T shirts I have made.

Day 37 oh how much has changed!

As I walked through the desert today I realised I had walked for 34 days and really only had 3 days off. I have walked nearly 620 miles averaging just over 18 miles a day.

In the past 37 days, I have dealt with debilitating UTI’s, blisters on most toes and heals, lost toe nails, tight shoes, temperatures in excess of 105F, dehydration, three and four hour climbs in forested areas. Walking in the hottest conditions I have ever experienced. My nails haven’t been even looked at since I arrived on the 15th of September, and the only time my hair has been brushed was when I had it coloured in Phoenix.

I manage a shower every day that keeps me sane!

My awesome travel companion Kelly is getting used to my fussy food / diet! I have hardly had an adult beverage! I am on the laptop most mornings at 4.30 am as by time I finish 7/8 hours on the road I am exhausted. I spend about 1 ½ hours a day on caring for my feet – moleskin and kinesiology tapes, plus soaking them in Epsom Salts for 45 minutes every night. My feet are sporting fantastic callouses, I see them as badges of honour!

I love living in the RV.  My friends Shirley and Bill Harmon purchased it and donated it to the Quad Foundation for the 6 ½ months we are on the road.

I miss my family terribly but I am on a mission!

It is tragic that less than 10% of those living with SCI seek any “Activity Based Therapy” below injury! Insurance must cover this with NO Caps! This is our mission to Washington D.C.!

Along the way our mission is to create awareness about the injury especially that recovery is possible! Raise money for “Activity Based Therapy” grants and scholarships and build communities around families isolated by the injury. Honour where it’s possible the Warrior Momz!

So as “ill” prepared I was to walk, I will not give up! I have walked the majority of the Warrior Momz Walk so far alone, and this is very tough as I still live with my fear of being lost! (Kelly does a great job of “finding” me)

Some days when it’s been so tough I wonder if anyone cares, and then I get a message from a Mom thanking me for walking for her family and it’s all worth it!

I had to do something “Big” as I am tired of living in a world where little progress is made in encouraging those living with Spinal Cord Injury to believe they can experience some recovery, keep healthy, keep positive and importantly have a hopeful future!

In Australia the doctors refer to SCI as the Silent Epidemic – we will be silent no longer!