INGLESIDE, Ontario – Runners and walkers of all ages braved the rainy weather on Saturday, Sept. 28 in memory of Stephanie Grady, local wife and mother of three who battled a rare form of cancer called NUT Midline Carcinoma.
Before her passing in 2014, community members rallied together to help raise funds for Grady to travel to the U.S. to take an experimental drug called a BET Inhibitor. Grady called her several supporters her Army of Blue, with her campaign reaching as far as her hometown in P.E.I. Unfortunately, she passed before she was able to receive the treatment.
Her life was celebrated by many on Sept. 28 which falls on her birthday. With the adult’s run stretching as far as 10 km and the children’s 2 km at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, chocolate awaited participants at their half-way point and cheesecake was up for grabs at the finish line. Additionally, runners could indulge in Tim Hortons coffee and wear a special shirt in honour of the run as the franchise was an official partner of the event, and funds raised through the BBQ were kept by Sanctuary hosts. Proceeds from the event were donated to Camp Erin Eastern Ontario, a bereavement camp for children aged 6 to 17, who learn trust, self-esteem and how to cope in a safe environment.
A young local, Liam Rolley, shared his personal experience with Camp Erin. He explained that his father had passed away when he was just 6-years-old and he was placed in foster care soon after. He and two of his siblings were welcomed into the same foster family and eventually adopted. He is still able to see his other siblings on the weekend and now is happy to have a total of 14 adopted and biological siblings. His story left many emotional in light of his bravery.
“There’s lots of people from the community, lots of family and friends and it’s special because a lot of people come back year after year, and I know they enjoy getting together as a group, as a family…” said Stephanie’s husband, Nick Grady, who noted the event was extra special this year falling on Stephanie’s birthday.
Nick said the event is a great opportunity for children to meet others who have experienced loss, share stories and promote the counselling services given through Camp Erin.