“What should runners know? Every penny makes a difference in our lives.”
An important part of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Sunday, October 16) is the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. We encourage all runners to enrich their race day experience by supporting charities that do so much for communities. We’re shining a spotlighting on individuals and families who have benefitted from some of the charities that are part of the event. “If you’re not running for something, you’re just chasing the wind,” says Wesley Korir. Let’s chase more than PBs. Let’s chase a better world.
Alan Gustafson, 37, Jess Gustafson 36 and Harvey, 18 months, for ALS Society of Canada
I was 36 years old and 36 weeks into my pregnancy when my husband Alan, a welder and a very strong person, was blind-sided by a diagnosis of ALS.
We were a healthy, strong and independent couple who were thrown into a crazy world where there isn’t a lot that hospitals can provide in terms of care. It wasn’t until Leah from the ALS Society of Canada came and sat with us on our porch that we felt we had someone to advocate for us and help us navigate the system.
The toughest thing is you don’t know what’s coming and sometimes what’s coming happens very quickly.
We have a new “sort of normal,” and the ALS Society helps so that we don’t miss out on a lot of services from transportation to home renovations and more.
I can’t imagine being alone in this situation and not having the Society’s support. Now with our son Harvey learning so many new things that Alan now can’t do, it makes your heart explore—realizing the little things really do matter.
“ART for Cancer drove me into a new world.”
Kelly Thorarinson on ART for Cancer Foundation
The ART for Cancer Foundation was recommended to me by a social worker at Princess Margaret Hospital when I was going through breast cancer treatment. The ability to express how I was feeling in that moment, raw and uncensored, was liberating.
I believe in the power of creating to help with healing. A long personal history of family members, beyond my own diagnosis, have been struck with cancer throughout their lives. Losing loved ones and my own personal experiences propelled me into the craft of art as an outlet to help express emotions. This new meditative state and ongoing support at ART saved me.
My role at ART for Cancer has been a strong, emotive evolution. I’ve worn many hats. First, I was a workshop participant – to which I still occasionally attend. Next, I procured a volunteering opportunity. Now, I facilitate the Creating from Within workshops and continue to volunteer whenever and wherever I can.
Today, I’m cancer-free. ART for Cancer drove me into a new world. A new take on life. I enjoy life as both an artist and private practice clinical social worker. Better yet, I’ve married the two, injecting the expressive and immersive artistic landscape to my platform.
I recently had my first solo show, with the support and care of ART for Cancer by my side. With the encouragement of Cid Palacio, founder and Director of ART for Cancer, I’ve since learned to engage, embrace and own the title: artist.
“I was running 10K through a park when my heart stopped.”
Sheryl Gill, for the Heart and Stroke Foundation
It was February 11, 2006 and I was running 10K through a park in Irvine, California when my heart stopped. Typically, cardiac arrest happens to athletes, in a similar setting, and as it turned out I was a ticking time bomb and it was only a matter of time before this happened.
I have memory loss, but I was told that I fell to the ground and looked like a dead body.
My situation has a really happen ending — I have no long term disability and I’m able to live a massively full life thanks to the people who descended on me in that moment. I feel massive gratitude to runner’s fundraising, in Canada and beyond, for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Together, we’re leading the way in research, and celebrating the fact that defibrillators are now widely available, in community centres and schools.
That’s what saved my life and continue to save lives of others.
So much good comes out of the work that is done by runners, walkers and cyclists. Canada is a leading force in research and drug development and there are so many things that we are doing to live longer, healthier lives.
Thank you to everyone who chips in.
October 3rd, 2016