If you haven’t heard, Steve Heimburger of Team Heimburger has embarked on a journey of many thousand steps. He’s walking an epic journey of 650 km from Castlegar to Hope, raising awareness and funds for BC Schizophrenia Society.

We checked in with Steve on his journey, why he’s decided to take on this endeavour, and what he’s asking of us all.

BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS): Thanks for doing this amazing fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society. Why did you decide to walk from Castlegar to Hope?

Steve Heimburger (SH): For the last few years, I have taken part in the BCSS 10KM fundraising run at the end of June with my brother and family as part of “Team Heimburger.” Unfortunately, Covid-19 decided to mess with those plans this year. Although my decision to walk the KVR (Kettle Valley Railway) was not initially linked to the BCSS, it seemed like a natural fit. Combining my journey with this wonderful group in the hopes of raising awareness and funds so that they may continue their work assisting individuals and families, like mine, find a path forward on their journey with schizophrenia.

BCSS: How has schizophrenia affected you?

SH: Over the last few years, my extended family has been dealing with a health crisis – one that is both difficult to talk about and (therefore) difficult to treat. After years of misdiagnosis, my family member was finally accurately diagnosed with schizophrenia, which in turn, led to effective treatment.

I am still learning about a lot about what is schizophrenia, how common it is, and how to treat it. BCSS offers tireless support for families dealing with this debilitating, but treatable, illness. BCSS has made all the different for my family and many others. And over the course of this journey, I’m looking forward to telling our story about how schizophrenia has affected us, and talk to people I meet along the way to help them get a better understanding of schizophrenia.

BCSS: How has this first week been for you?

SH: It’s been great, but my feet sure do hurt! I’m getting blisters where I never get blisters!

The people I’m meeting are so welcoming and open. One of my new trail friends, Lynn, is an educator from Victoria who was travelling eastbound via bike. After a brief description of my goals for the hike, I asked her what she knew about schizophrenia.

Lynn, an educator from Victoria, tells me what she knows about schizophrenia.

With her limited knowledge on the subject, she told me that schizophrenia “refers to a mental condition that is possibly hereditary, and can be aggravated by early use of marijuana. Also, it is highly prevalent among the homeless populations in many cities.”

I then proceeded to bestow all of my newly acquired information about the disease (and how it has affected my extended family) until I could see her eyes start to glaze over.

This has also led to some great discussions between my friends and family about schizophrenia.

BCSS: How can people support you in your goals?

SH: You can following along and read all about my adventures on along the Columbia & Western and Kettle Valley Trails through Facebook.

My goal is to raise $5,000 for BCSS by the time I reach Hope. People can make donations online at www.bcss.org/StevesWalkForHope

Anyway, I best get back on the trail. Epic walks and dry socks!

Steve’s ready to go in Castlegar!

Steve’s journey will take him along the Columbia & Western and Kettle Valley Trails, two railway lines transformed into trails. These trails are just two sections of The Great Trail of Canada, a continuous, multi-modal recreational trail that snakes its way across Canada.