Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lacing up my runners to raise money for an incredible organization


For those of you who know me, you’ll know that two years ago I ran my first – and only – half marathon.

Running it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. And I’ve birthed two kids, and I can still say that running a half marathon was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Mind you, my finishing time of 2 hours and 31 minutes was a full 2 hours and 24 minutes longer than it took to birth my daughter!

I was on an adrenaline high when I finished the race, and that high lasted for weeks and weeks. That high led to me wanting to run another half marathon but as winter turned to spring last year, I lacked the motivation to start training again. After all, it’s not only the 2 and a half hours of race running that’s the killer – it’s the months and months of putting in the mileage beforehand.

So I must be crazy when I say I’m training to do it again.

But this time, I’m motivated to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half-marathon to raise money for an incredible organization here in Toronto. Fred Victor.

Fred Victor has been helping homeless and low-income people in Toronto for the last 120 years. Every day, more than 1,000 people use their programs and services and every person who comes through their doors is experiencing poverty or homelessness.

So why am I running for Fred Victor? Because their much-needed programs and services help people rebuild their lives. And because the issue of homelessness suffers from stereotypes and prejudices. The reality is that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ homeless person. Very few people choose to be homeless and it can happen to anyone – sadly, in a city as expensive as Toronto, it can happen faster than many of us care to think about or admit. For some, their descent into poverty is swift, with the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, a family break-up, substance abuse or the onset of mental illness. For others, poverty comes from escaping a violent situation or being kicked out for coming out.

Most homeless people don’t actually live on the streets, but in emergency shelters or on the couches of friends and family. Regardless of how they get there, Fred Victor is a place where everyone is respected and accepted. Fred Victor offers affordable housing units, emergency shelters, food access, job training, health information and support services.

These services are essential because not everyone is lucky enough to have a family that loves, supports and accepts them, as I have always had. And not everyone can easily pick up the pieces if they lose their job, as I once had to do.

On October 19, I’ll be lacing up my runners and running 21.1 kilometres through the streets of Toronto to raise money for Fred Victor. Please visit my fundraising page tosupport me – all money raised greatly benefits everyone in the Fred Victor community.

Learn more about FredVictor.