More than 400 people braved the cool weather and laced up for the inaugural Bridget’s Run on Oct. 20 at Barrie’s Centennial Park, in recognition of Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month.
More than $33,000 was raised from participant registrations and community donations in support of Bridget’s Bunnies, an initiative to provide comfort kits to patients at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in the days following the loss of a pregnancy or infant. Funds from the run will also support RVH’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Bereavement Program.
Mat and Theresa Morrison founded both Bridget’s Bunnies and Bridget’s Run, in honour of the memory of their daughter Bridget.
“The number of participants and funds raised was well beyond our original expectations and I think it is an illustration of what can happen when a community pulls together to support each other during times of grief,” said Theresa. “Each person was there to honour the memory of their baby or to support their loved ones who had experienced a loss. Knowing that their participation will help future patients who have to say goodbye to their baby too soon was extremely meaningful for all involved.”
Charmaine Smith, RVH Obstetrics manager, participated in the five-kilometre run, along with many RVH caregivers on her team.
“Mat and Theresa have not only raised funds, they’ve raised awareness about the fact that supporting each other is the best medicine during times of loss,” she said. “RVH is extremely grateful for their efforts.”
Part of the funds raised included a $9,000 donation from the Barrie Police Association, with $4,000 of that amount coming from the annual Barrie Wild Wings charity golf tournament.
Tom Sinclair, Barrie Police Association president, said supporting areas at RVH related to pediatrics and maternal health is a tradition the organization has been proud to continue each year.
Photo (l-r): Laura Hurst, RVH maternal child and youth social worker; Charmaine Smith, RVH obstetrics manager; Mat and Theresa Morrison. Kelly Pottage photo