Hiking events

Meet the woman who walks 900 kilometers on the Bruce Trail to raise money for survivors of domestic abuse

They say discomfort can be a catalyst for big change. For longtime hiker Linda Murphy, her latest charitable endeavor is getting physically and emotionally uncomfortable to support a cause close to her heart and inspire change.

Murphy will hike the 900 kilometers of the Bruce Trail this spring to raise $50,000 for domestic abuse shelters across Canada. She begins her journey from Queenston on Sunday May 1 and hikes six days a week, for two months, to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

“I know I’m horny, because I’m getting progressively less sleep each night,” she said. “I am hopeful that I will get the support… that I need to make the campaign a success.”

All money raised will be donated to My Friend’s House, a shelter for women and children fleeing violence in Collingwood, where Murphy is from, and shelters across Canada, including Women’s Place of South Niagara.

This isn’t Murphy’s first time hiking for charity: In 2019, she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, over 4,000 miles, and raised $32,000 for My Friend’s House in South Georgian Bay.

Murphy spent 18 years working as a real estate agent with Royal LePage before retiring. She learned about the problem of domestic violence through the company’s Shelter Foundation, which supports women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.

Realizing that some people spend their lives insecure in their own homes due to domestic violence and abuse motivated her to take action with her 2019 fundraiser.

“It really hurts my heart,” she said. “When we think of family, we should be safe and taken care of.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she learned more about how incidents of domestic violence have increased across Canada. She decided to launch her second fundraiser, starting preparations last winter.

Amanda Braet, director of development and stewardship at Women’s Place of South Niagara, says they’ve seen the number of domestic violence cases — and their severity — increase during the pandemic.

Coupled with the inability to hold their fundraising events in person, the past two years have been difficult, which has increased the need for their services — and efforts like Murphy’s, she said, are deeply appreciated.

“I’m always amazed and impressed by people who take matters into their own hands and do what they can as one person, and really make a difference, she said. “It’s such a creative and fun fundraiser.”

Murphy said she hasn’t experienced domestic violence herself, but as an advocate for the issue, she wants to encourage people like her to feel comfortable addressing what can be an uncomfortable issue. .

“I do it because I can,” she says.

Murphy invites people to join her at the Cairn in the southern terminus of Queenston Heights Park on May 1 at 9 a.m. to walk with her for as long as they want. She will also notify people in real time during her hike, so they can join at various checkpoints, on her website thehealthyhiker.ca.