Over 400 participants gathered at the Meaford Harbour to either run or walk the 5km route that has become an annual tradition in Meaford.
This year almost 100 children ages 12 and under took part in a mini version of the race and completed a 1km loop on Denmark Street. The race draws a large group of competitive participants, plus people who come out to enjoy a stroll along the lovely shores of Georgian Bay with their pets while raising funds for the Meaford Hospital Foundation.
The Harbour Pavilion was full of laughter as family, friends and co-workers came together after spending the past few months not only training for the event but also fundraising to support the Foundation. Many runners crossed the finish line elated to have reached a goal they had been training for, while others walked babies in strollers, or were pulled across the finish line by their favorite pooch.
Over the past 23 years, the race has raised $511,500 for health care and medical equipment and participation has steadily grown. This year’s event supports mental health at our area hospitals including Meaford. The Foundation was the fortunate benefactor of a $25,000 matching gift
“When word got out that an anonymous donor had come forward with a gift to the event, we knew we had to work hard to match this individual’s gift,” said Jennifer Wright, Executive Director of the Hospital Foundation. “We are very excited to have reached our $100,000 goal.”
Last week, the Meaford Hospital Foundation presented a cheque for $100,000 to Grey Bruce Health Services Interim President and CEO Joanne Flewwelling, and GBHS Director of Mental Health Services, Naomi Vodden. The funds will support mental health initiatives, including training for staff, and the retrofit of a new room in the Emergency Department to support mental health patients.
“We are extremely grateful to the Meaford Hospital Foundation and to all of the generous donors for supporting enhancements to local mental health care. Patients with mental health issues often come to the Emergency Room when they are in crisis,” said Flewwelling. “The typical ER environment, with bright lights, limited privacy, noise and general activity can further aggravate a very stressful situation, and sometimes people leave before they can get care. These funds will help us retrofit a room in our Meaford Hospital where we can safely treat people in a calmer, quieter room, with less stimulation, where the risk of self-harm is reduced.”
“A special thank you to our local businesses as well as those outside the Meaford area that have supported this year’s event, the volunteers, committee, donors and participants. This truly was a group effort!” said the foundation.
Photo: (L to R) Rebecca Wuerth-Sarvis – Manager Meaford Hospital, Naomi Vodden GBHS Director of Mental Health Services, Dr. Nathalie Sauriol Chief of Staff Meaford Hospital, Kim Macdonald, Nancy Allendorf and Louis Bernard Meaford Hospital Foundation board members and Joanne Flewwelling Interim President and CEO.