From Superwoman to a Winnie the Pooh posse, more than 500 costumed Calgarians ran through Bowness Park on Sunday to raise money for a special purpose: to help send children with neurosurgical conditions to camp.
Joggin for a Noggin’s 5 km or 10 km run, and 1.4 km trick-or-treat walk fundraises so kids who’ve gone through brain and spinal surgeries can attend Camp Everest South at Camp Horizon. Many children have never had the opportunity, due to complex medical needs, said organizer and pediatric neurosurgery nurse Kelly Bullivant.
“[One child] was able to develop such self-confidence over the week [at camp] that when he went home, he was doing more for himself and I think it really did change that family’s life,” she added.
Bullivant said that about 40 kids are sent to camp each year. A rough tally has fundraising totals reaching over $20,000 this year, with the past three years raising more than $60,000.
Bullivant said her patients inspire her every day, going through their ailments with resilience.
“This is a really family-oriented event,” she said. “Everyone comes in costume and it’s about giving back to these kids who’ve had to go through so much in their young lives.”
Nadia Brogowski, dressed as Jack Skellington, said her experiences at camp have changed her life and she’s grateful for all the support.
“Seeing everyone so dedicated to raising money for camp truly makes me so emotional because just seeing how much everybody cares shows how much camp helps kids get back into the world,” she said.
Highlights for Brogowski include getting involved in leadership camps and bonding with people who have been through the same thing.
“Meeting all these amazing kids like me who have had neuro problems or getting to experience out of this world things like high ropes, giant swing, white water rafting — just amazing outdoor things,” she said.
“Camp has really just changed my life,” Brogowski added. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without it.”