11-Year-Old with Cerebral Palsy Walks 80,000 Steps for Clean Water

Stories | August 26, 2014

11-year-old Quinn Smith-Windsor was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects her coordination and muscle control. But that hasn’t stopped her from walking for charity.

For longer distances, Quinn normally relies on her wheelchair, because walking tires her out quickly. This June, however, she decided to swap the wheelchair for her bright purple walker, and complete 80,000 steps to raise money for Free the Children’s clean water projects in Africa.

“Some women in Africa have to take 80,000 steps every day to fetch water, so I wanted to go the same distance,” Quinn explains.

“I really want to help them not to have to walk so far, because then they have time to go to school and get a job. If I manage to raise $10,000 that means two wells right in their community.”

To keep track of Quinn’s progress, her family started drawing a “progress tree” on a large poster fastened to bristle board. As Quinn’s number of steps grows, the tree grows — with vines and leaves being added, along with the most current number.


So far, Quinn has walked over 70,000 steps — and has raised $8,600 through her Chimp Giving Group.

“Chimp made it really easy to raise money for Quinn’s cause,” her mom Jaimie explains.

“We’ve done a fundraiser before and it was basically cheques and money being sent to us via mail, which was a huge challenge. Being able to take donations online through Chimp made the administrative part much more transparent and manageable.”


A Kind-hearted, Empathetic “News Junkie”

Charitable giving has always been a big part of Quinn’s life.

Her mom Jaimie believes that the main two factors driving Quinn’s charitable endeavours are her empathetic nature and the fact that her daughter is a “news junkie”.

Quinn ran her first fundraiser at age seven, raising enough money to send 17 wheelchairs to children in Haiti.


At the tender age of seven, Quinn ran her first fundraiser after following the news coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake from her family’s Waskesiu Lake home in Saskatchewan. Within weeks, she had raised enough money to send 17 wheelchairs to children in Haiti.

“I hope that people take away from Quinn’s accomplishment that anyone can make a difference,” says Jaimie. “And that they have the strength and ability to overcome the obstacles they are facing. That gives me hope.”

As for Quinn, Jaimie has no doubt her daughter will continue to change the world around her for the better — and Quinn confirms that notion.

“I don’t know what I will do next,” Quinn says. “But I want to think of another fundraiser that I can do after this one.” And after a reflective pause, she adds: “I don’t think I’ll ever stop.”

To reach her goal of $10,000, Quinn needs your help!Please donate to her 80,000 Steps Giving Group before August 31 and give a community in Africa access to clean water.

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