One man’s run to bring awareness to First Nations water crisis reaches Calgary
A Toronto man set foot in Calgary on Saturday afternoon in the midst of his run from Vancouver to Ottawa to raise awareness to, and funds to address, the lack of potable water in First Nations communities across the nation.
Hasan Syed, whose family immigrated to Canada from his native Pakistan in the late 1990s, decided to make the pilgrimage from near the shores of the Pacific Ocean to Canada’ capital after first learning of the lack of clean running water while finishing his nursing degree.
“I think it has a lot to do with me immigrating from Pakistan,” Syed told CTV Calgary during an interview conducted just west of Calgary city limits.. “Not knowing that (drinking water issues) even existed here in this land. I learned about this issue about two years ago, in September 2015, and I was just so baffled.”
“I thought the life that I had, where I would go open my tap and drink water, was the norm for everybody.”
Syed says he still has childhood memories of his mother pouring boiling hot water from a pot into a cooler in their home in Pakistan so that the family could have water to drink.
Distraught by the plight of First Nations communities, Syed joined other young Canadians in the founding of Access 2 Clean Water, an organization committed to tackling the water crisis.
The 28-year-old Torontonian, who despises running but is willing to lace up for the cause, is scheduled to address the crowd at an Access 2 Clean Water fundraising dinner on the University of Calgary campus on Saturday evening.
Syed is collecting donations through a GoFundMe page to help cover the $23,000 in operational costs (including the rental of a van, fuel, lodging and food). All additional funds will support Access 2 Clean Water.
The Access 2 Clean Water organization has an ambitious fundraising goal of collecting $1 per Canadian citizen to help study living situations and infrastructure on First Nations oft plagued by ‘Do Not Consume’ and ‘Water Boil’ advisories and to facilitate the construction of new water plants.
To follow Syed’s progress and for additional information regarding the First Nations water crisis, visit Access 2 Clean Water.