Oct, 31, 2019

For 17 years, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation has been near and dear to the heart of The Redwood. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs. The foundation has helped us provide shelter, on-site counselling, housing support services, job training, and legal support for women and children fleeing abuse.

Each year, through the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, local real estate brokerages organize garage sales and golf tournaments, and agents donate a portion of their commissions to support women and children living at The Redwood.

Recently, many Royal LePage realtors signed up to participate in the five-day Sahara Desert Challenge for Shelter, a 100km trek across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Participants will start in Marrakech, make their way through the Maider El Kebir plateau, and finish their journey by walking along the Tikertouachene River.

Proceeds will be distributed through the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation to women’s shelters across the country, including The Redwood.

We had the chance to sit with three of our friends at Royal LePage who are fundraising specifically for The Redwood and ask them about the upcoming challenge. Here’s what they’ve said:

Angelo Sol

Fundraising Goal: $5,000

What inspired you to take on this challenge?
I was introduced to the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation’s challenges through a colleague who had signed up for the Machu Picchu challenge a few years ago, but was unable to attend due to a ski injury. I decided to participate in the next year’s challenge trekking across Iceland. Initially, I didn’t realize how intense the trek would be but I really liked stepping out of my comfort zone as a “city boy” to raise awareness for an important cause.

What will keep you going on an arduous trek such as this one?
Participating in a challenge like this is an incredibly moving experience. During the week, I don’t have the ability to be distracted by technology so I know that I will stay in a state of mindfulness and reflection. During the trek, I will have the opportunity to really think about the women and children who need a safe place to go when fleeing abusive situations. During my last experience in Iceland, there were moments where I experienced emotional outbursts, thinking about folks who experience these abusive situations, but also knowing that we are helping provide support and resources for them.

Which part of the trek do you anticipate being the most difficult for you?
Definitely the physicality of it. It’s an intense journey of walking and mountain-climbing for about six to nine hours a day. I am excited to challenge myself in this way again.

Sarah Garner

Fundraising Goal: $5,000

What inspired you to take on this challenge?
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the essence of success. I believe there is a hierarchy of success, with survival as the foundation. Above that is stability and sustainability. Once you’ve achieved this, you are successful. But I think your success is only significant if you look at the bigger picture, outside of yourself. I signed up for this challenge because I’ve been thinking a lot about how fortunate I am and how I can do more for women and children who are building new stable and sustainable lives free from abuse.

How do you prepare for a challenge like this?
I’ve been working with a personal trainer to prepare for the physicality of this trek. At the moment, I am doing a lot of strength and endurance training so that I am ready for the six to nine hours of walking and climbing each day. Recently, I’ve spent one day each weekend walking 20-30 km as practice.

What part of this trek do you anticipate being the most difficult for you?
I think the days in the sand dunes will be the hardest for me because it will be incredibly hot and the surfaces will not be flat. I think this will be more physically and emotionally exhausting than the distance of the trek itself.

Natalia Quintal

Fundraising goal: $8,000

What inspired you to take on this challenge?
I absolutely love to hike. I enjoy exploring new conditions and meeting new people. During my last personal journey, I hiked Machu Picchu with my husband. So, when I found out about the challenge, I signed up immediately because I would like to be more involved in our community. I’m very proud of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and their commitment to funding resources needed for women and children to build new lives free from abuse. Recently, I had the privilege of visiting The Redwood Shelter, and I was humbled to witness the staff’s commitment and passion.

How do you prepare for a challenge like this?
I have a consistent gym routine, and I play soccer once a week so I am already quite active during the week. Recently, I’ve started training harder and faster, particularly for distance.

What part of the trek do you anticipate being the most difficult for you?
During the three days in the middle of the journey, my goal is to complete 28 km back-to-back. It will likely be too hot to hike during the middle of the day, but hopefully I can make this possible.


We are so excited to hear more about their experiences when they return in the fall and wish them all the best of luck!