INGLESIDE — The Stephanie Grady Memorial Run takes off Oct. 1 from the educational pavilion named in her honour at Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
It’s the second annual edition organized by Team Grady since a rare form a cancer claimed the life of the married young mother of three in May 2014. A passionate runner herself, Stephanie Grady would have turned 35 years old on Run weekend.
The event begins 9:30 a.m. with the 2 km walk/run. Registrants may also choose to lace up their sneakers for optional 5 and 10 km distances. Runners and walkers will travel the picturesque bike path connecting the Sanctuary and the Long Sault Parkway’s Ingleside entrance.
Joggers of all levels are welcome to take part and “join us to cherish Stephanie’s memory,” organizers say. Funds raised will go to a youth bereavement camp offering grief support to children who have lost loved ones.
“This year, we’ve decided to organize an official run in memory of Stephanie,” says the late honoree’s husband, Nick Grady, an event organizer. “We’re combining her love of family and friends with her passion for running, with proceeds going to a great local cause that is near and dear to our hearts, Camp Erin Eastern Ontario.”
All participants will receive a t-shirt, a running bib and a medal at the finish line, and a barbecue is scheduled near the pavilion at the end of the Run. Freewill donations will be accepted at the barbecue in support of the Sanctuary’s “Getting on Board” boardwalk rehabilitation project.
Register for the Run at runningroom.com, Race ID # 13657.
“We’re NUT Givin’ Up” was a campaign launched in February 2014 to provide support for Stephanie Grady after her diagnosis with NUT Midline Carcinoma. Grady’s hope for overcoming this form of cancer was an experimental drug called BET Inhibitor, one not covered by Ontario’s health plan. The high cost of health care in the U.S., where Grady could enter the trials, prompted family and friends to form Team Grady.
Individuals, schools and communities organized events and activities ranging from sporting events to dances, pub-nights, silent auctions, scrapbooking marathons, raffles, and more. The campaign by her “Army of Blue,” as she called it, reached as far as her original home province of Prince Edward Island.
“The united response to this initiative was overwhelmingly incredible and inspirational,” said campaign organizer Heather Lisney. “The strength that the generosity of people provided to Stephanie as she fought was monumental. Their kindness still provides support and encouragement to Nick, the children and many others each day.”
Grady’s disease progressed too rapidly for her to start treatment. She died peacefully at home on May 10 that year, four days after she would have otherwise begun the trials.
This article was edited to correct Grady’s age.