Bonnie Runs for the Kids!

Bonnie's colleagues at the Markham Running Room wear green wigs in support of her. Bonnie dyed her hair green when she reached her 2011 fundraising goal.

Bonnie Fowler laces up her running shoes four times a week regardless of the weather and pounds the pavement as part of her marathon training routine. This year Bonnie will be among thousands of runners and walkers as she participates in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 14th, 2012 and raises money for the Hope for Children Scholarship Fund.

It was only three years ago that Bonnie started running. After being in a car accident which left her with injuries to her back and neck, Bonnie’s chiropractor encouraged her to start running as part of her rehabilitation and pain management therapy.

Choosing to raise money for Hope for Children Fund was an easy decision. Bonnie liked the idea of fundraising for a charity that had a scholarship program. “Higher education should be attainable for everyone,” says Bonnie. “I know what it was like with my own daughter and I can’t imagine what it must be like for a [CCAS] youth to run out of money before their next OSAP installment.”

Statistics show that youth in care are less likely to pursue post-secondary education because of financial constraints. Required by law to leave care at age 18, youth living on their own struggle to balance school, pay tuition, rent and hold a job.

“To come out of the child welfare system and decide to go to college or university is a big deal. These kids are trying to better themselves. Who wouldn’t support that?” says Bonnie. “Almost everyone has someone they can go to when they need help, but these youth don’t have that support system,” says Bonnie.

In her first year Bonnie ran the 5K and raised more than $500.00 for Hope for Children Fund. Last year she upped the ante by running the half-marathon (21.1 kms) and setting a fundraising goal of $2,500; which she surpassed. She ended up raising $2,700. This year Bonnie is running a full-marathon (42.2 kms) and she hopes to exceed her previous amount.

Bonnie takes her fundraising very seriously. For the past two years she has held a 50/50 draw in conjunction with the Sunset Speedway in Innisville. This year’s draw, held on May 5, brought in $800.00 and increased awareness of Hope for Children Fund and its various children, youth and family programs.

Bonnie says the trick to fundraising is tapping into your social and professional network. “Don’t be afraid to ask anyone and everyone for a donation; friends, colleagues, people you work with.”

As a financial planner Bonnie has a busy schedule, but she makes running a priority. She trains with her local Running Room where she is an instructor for the “Learn to Run” clinic. “Running becomes a part of your life, once you start you just can’t stop. Your week just doesn’t go right if you don’t run.” says Bonnie. “The Markham Running Room has been very supportive of me. I would not be able to do this if it wasn’t for their and the support of Dr. Jimmy Feng of Form and Function. He is going to meet me at the 30K mark and run to the finish line with me.”

Good luck with your training and fundraising Bonnie!

To donate to the Hope for Children Fund, please visit www.hopeforchildren.ca.

To take part in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and fundraise for Hope for Children Fund visit www.hopeforchildren.ca/marathon.