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'It's been a godsend': Annual walk supports free housing for first responders being treated in Edmonton

Participants register for the Walk for Valour on Sunday, in support of supportive housing for military and first responders undergoing medical treatments in Edmonton. (Matt Marshall/CTV News Edmonton) Participants register for the Walk for Valour on Sunday, in support of supportive housing for military and first responders undergoing medical treatments in Edmonton. (Matt Marshall/CTV News Edmonton)
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Edmontonians gathered Sunday morning in support of military members, veterans and first responders in need of medical treatment in the city.

The annual Walk for Valour fundraiser took place at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park, with money going to services at Valour Place.

Opening in 2012, it's a home-away-from-home for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and other first responders and their families during medical treatments in the city.

"It relieves a lot of the stress of not knowing where they can stay," said Sylvie Keane, executive director of Valour Place. "And having family around helps heal, so it really keeps people together."

Canadian Armed Forces veteran Bill Scott and his wife Lorraine Scott attended the walk in support of the services that have supported them.

Lorraine was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2020. The couple don't live in Edmonton, so each appointment meant six hours of driving or an expensive hotel stay.

"We knew that we were going to have to be in Edmonton quite a bit and trying to figure out what to do with that, and another good friend of ours learned about Valour Place," Lorraine said.

"It's been a godsend," she added.

The Scotts have spent more than 45 days at Valour Place during Lorraine's treatments. Sunday they were two of more than 100 people out showing their appreciation.

Valour Place runs entirely off private donations, and Keane said the walk is the home's only major fundraiser.

This year, the organization is hoping to raise $50,000 dollars by Sep. 20.

"Our catchline is, 'Register, fundraise and conquer,'" Keane said.

Participants registered to walk or run a 2.5 or 5 kilometre route, with stations along the way for anyone wanting to test their military skills "in a fun way."

Sunday, more than $36,500 had been donated.

"Edmonton is a very generous city," Keane said. "These people give so much to protect our cities, our communities and our country. I'm so happy to see others helping them."

Lorraine will undergo surgery in November and the couple will use the facility again during that time.

"The facility is just absolutely amazing. To just be able to come and rest and not worry about anything," Lorraine said.

"It's amazing. There's just no other word for it, it's just an amazing place," Bill said. "To have that facility available to so many people is just fantastic."

The fundraiser wraps up Wednesday. Until then, Keane said people can continue to donate online

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Evan Kenny