A London Ont., support centre is launching its first-ever virtual charity run amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
The eighth annual Run for Women by My Sisters’ Place will be held online to ensure participants stay safe from risks of catching COVID-19.
Jennifer de Melo with My Sisters’ Place told 980 CFPL’s Devon Peacock on The Morning Show that 100 per cent of this year’s fees and local funds raised will be donated to 18 local charities supporting women’s mental health, including My Sisters’ Place.
“We’re seeing upwards of 200 to 250 people a day, but due to (COVID-19), we’re doing window service, so it’s limiting the amount of supports we can provide to individuals.”
My Sisters’ Place provides services for women facing vulnerabilities, such as chronic mental and physical health challenges, housing instability, substance use, and gender-based violence.
The not-for-profit has seen its services set back by COVID-19, as have close to 75 per cent of Ontario charities who have seen reduced revenue from fundraising.
A national survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) also found women, young adults and people with children are hit hardest by COVID-19-related anxiety and depression.
To bring awareness to the importance of supporting women’s mental health, Londoner Louise Blakey is sharing her personal story of how My Sisters’ Place changed — and saved — her life.
When Blakey first arrived, she was at her lowest point, homeless and suffering from depression.
“In 2002, when I first walked in the doors, instantly, I felt at home and loved and accepted. They never judged, and (brought out) the good qualities in me that I didn’t even know existed,” said Blakey.
“I say this from the bottom of my heart; they saved my life. I truly believe I would not be alive today if it weren’t for My Sisters’ Place.”
The eighth annual Run for Women will be taking place on Sunday, Sept. 27.
de Melo says in previous years, participants always ran together, but not this year due to COVID-19.
“You can do it in any location or wherever you’re at,” said de Melo. “You can support the community and be a part of celebrating the community as well.”
Those interested in participating can sign up online.