In 2014 Jean-Paul Bédard ran the esteemed Boston Marathon twice in one day. In 2015, he ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon three times back-to-back. 2016? You guessed it! JP will be running #STWM four times in a row! And before you get your calculator out to multiply 42.2 x 4, I’ll tell you…it’s 168.8km. Cathy Vandergeest explains why she’s lacing up at STWM for JP’s Team.
I’m sure the most likely question JP gets asked is, “Why?”
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse himself, Jean-Paul Bedard felt that by doing something extremely challenging, he’d raise awareness, support and funds for his fellow survivors. JP’s life has already been extremely challenging. It’s how he battled, survived and shared these challenges that inspires anyone who hears his story. In preparation for his “Toronto Quadruple Marathon” (October 15-16, 2016) he launched JP’s Team which he describes as, “a community of athletes and altruists working together to raise funds and awareness for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.” The fundraising side of JP’s Team supports two Canadian charities. The Gatehouse, “provides support services for people whose lives have been affected by childhood abuse. They offer a safe place for children to disclose abuse to police, as well as services that address the needs of adult survivors of abuse.” Little Warriors, which supports Be Brave Ranch, is “a treatment centre focused solely to help children who have been sexually abused, as well as their families.” These two charities aren’t huge, so every dollar makes a huge difference in the life of someone suffering.
I was so honoured that Jean-Paul asked me to create the JP’s Team logo and to assist in coordinating fun events for the Team this past year. Membership has continued to grow, and Team singlets are appearing in race photos across the country. It’s been amazing to see how JP’s idea has grown.
For 2016’s running of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Canada Running Series added a special requirement to the roles of their Digital Champions. In addition to the usual race support, each would also act as a cheerleader for a chosen charity. It was a no-brainer that I apply and support JP’s Team. JP has set some fundraising goals for the two team charities, but I’m hoping is that together we can hit those fundraising targets–and surpass them. Please consider donating towards those goals, and towards helping a survivor of sexual abuse get the help they need. Here’s the link to my fundraising page, which all goes towards JP’s goal.
And when you see JP out running his quadruple marathon on October 15-16, please be sure cheer him on!