In late April 2010, Elisa McFarlane, one of Epilepsy Ontario’s board members turned a long-time calling into a fundraising opportunity. She began a five-week long trek along the El Camino de Santiago to raise money and awareness for Epilepsy Ontario.
“I have given my 780-kilometre El Camino de Santiago walk a lot of thought over the years, but I just knew that this was the right time in my life to do it,” said McFarlane. “I heard the calling and somehow the time and financial means were made available. As I reflected on all the reasons I wanted to do it, one thing became clear to me, that this was also an opportunity to help others.”
McFarlane dedicated the walk to the thousands of people and their families across Ontario living with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. You can support her by making a donation to Epilepsy Ontario.
An oft-trodden road
Back in the Middle Ages, this route became a well worn path of cultural exchange between the Iberian peninsula (modern day Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar) and the rest of Europe. With 1,800 historical buildings to admire en route, the five-week trek showcases an evolution of art and architecture over hundreds of years.
For Christians, the Camino is a pilgrimage route unparalleled by any other in Europe (including those to Rome and Jerusalem). Tombs of apostles, churches housing relics, and cathedrals in their splendour are just a few of the iconic sites lining the road to Santiago.
The Camino starts on the French side of the Pyrenees, the mountain range that divides France and Spain. McFarlane and her fellow pilgrims crossed over the mountains and continued across the north of Spain to the town of Santiago Compostela.
- This route is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Read more on the UNESCO website.
- Watch the CTV coverage of McFarlane’s journey.