All ages come out for Fifth Annual Mackenzie’s Run and Walk for CHEO

Runners, walkers and support crews gather under the trees at Little Current’s Low Island Park for the fifth annual Mackenzie’s Run and Walk for CHEO. photo by Michael Erskine

LOW ISLAND—A gentle excitement filled the air as runners, walkers and those just there to cheer their loved ones on waited for the start of the Fifth Annual Mackenzie’s Run and Walk for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Organizer and the fundraising event’s founder Jillian Peltier delivered words of encouragement and gratitude to those attending the memorial effort named for her late son.

“In the last five years, we have raised over $16,000 for CHEO, thanks to the support of our friends, family and our local communities,” said Ms. Peltier. “We are so grateful for all of the support we have received. Most of the money has been donated to Project Stitch which was a project to revamp the hospital’s Day Surgery Unit. The new Unit includes two Procedure Rooms specifically for IBD patients (Irritable Bowel Disease, which is what Mackenzie had) which means they will get their tests (endoscopies) done more quickly because they no longer have to wait for an operating room. The recovery room has been completely updated and now includes adjustable lighting in each bay to help patients feel more comfortable as they awake after surgery. There are also now two interview rooms which provide privacy for families to consult with physicians and staff (previously this was often done in the hallway). Project Stitch has also purchased a new MRI machine providing the most modern diagnostic technology to CHEO patients.”

While the event might be small in numbers compared to some taking place in large urban centres, Ms. Peltier noted that the hearts of those attending are huge.

“Our fundraising efforts are a drop in the bucket of this multi-million-dollar project,” she said, “but it feels good to know that in a small way we have helped all of this become a reality for CHEO patients and their families. Once Project Stitch had completed their fundraising we donated money to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where Mackenzie was treated, because they do not receive enough funding for all of the beds on their unit.”

The formalities finished, the runners and walkers were soon off on their way.

In the 5km Fun Run the results were: first place, Brodie Pennie at 22:11; second place Xavier Mara at 24:40 and third place Kristin Farquahar with a time of 25:14.

“The top two boys are not even teenagers yet,” noted Ms. Peltier.

In the 1km Kids Event the results were first place, Rylan Pennie; second place, Benny Cooper; and third place was Nathan Quackenbush.

In the 1km participants included Sofia, Samuel, Grace, Leah, Eva, Jack, Alannah, Eli, Rachel, Marcus, Brady, Morgan and Simon.

Ms. Peltier said that this might be the final year for Mackenzie’s Run and Walk for CHEO, but she asked participants to let her know if they wish for the event to continue after this year.