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Virtual Southlake Run surpasses $150,000 goal – and there’s still time to show your support

October 9, 2020   ·   0 Comments

The 2020 Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake may have taken a different form this year, but the virtual SL5K run has been a resounding success for the local hospital.

Thanks to more than 800 participants, the Southlake Foundation handily surpassed their $150,000 fundraising goal, and with dollars still rolling in through October 15, they were well on the road to a further $10,000 in much-needed funds.

“We had 850 participants, which is about half the number that we had originally anticipated for an in-person event, yet we surpassed the fundraising goal and I believe it is because those who participated were committed to doing more of the peer-to-peer fundraising and they achieved that,” says Sheila Tilotta, Interim President & CEO of the Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. “We have seen our community come together over COVID and support Southlake and I think reaching the goal is that continued support for the community for our hospital, knowing that we’re still in this and we’re in this together.”

Joining the community in rallying for Southlake were teams of frontline workers and other hospital support staff. 23 hospital department teams participated in this year’s SL5K out of a total team roster of 91.

“They know firsthand what the hospital needs are,” says Ms. Tilotta. “They have seen the need for more fundraising, especially with COVID and some of the demands that were placed as a result of it, and some of the urgent equipment. Many of them live in the community; they don’t just work here. That’s the consistent message I heard from staff throughout COVID was we ‘really appreciate what the community is doing for us, but what can we also be doing?’ I think part of our success is…they were participating in the run and also paying it back to Southlake.

“What that says to me is that people really rallied around the need. For example, our top individual fundraiser was the same person last year and they raised more than double of last year’s total. There were definitely people focused on the run and I can only speculate it was because we’re home, we’re not commuting, and we’re all community-facing now.”

As the Southlake Foundation looks to wrap up SL5K donations by mid-month, they are set to turn their attention towards a new fundraising campaign now underway with a special focus on building capacity for mental health needs.

Proceeds from the SL5K are deemed “flexible funds” which can be allocated to various hospital services and equipment purchases as they are needed, a concept which proved beneficial during the first wave of COVID-19 and will be beneficial in this second wave. These flexible funds can also help their mental health campaign towards the finish line.

“Flexible funds are always our priority and that is because as COVID has taught us, the priority needs of our hospital can change on a dime,” says Ms. Tilotta. “Flexible funding is always the most urgent need in the hospital so the most immediate needs can be met. If somebody was wanting to restrict their funds, mental health and/or equipment will be the next broad categories. Our mental health campaign is a $7.5 million campaign kicking off in October, that will very much rely on the community for support. Flexible funds can be used for equipment, they can be used for mental health, they can be used if there are more COVID-related equipment that is required during this second wave. Flexible funds will allow the hospital clinicians to utilize the funds fastest and to the highest priority.

“Thanksgiving kicks off the Season of Giving and this year health care is more important than ever. It is a message we have heard a number of times. Our community has rallied behind Southlake and we are thankful for our community for what they have done and what they continue to do. I think we would all agree that this is not over. They have now declared that we’re in a second wave of COVID and we very much know that there will be more COVID needs, but more importantly there are a number of mental health needs. COVID has had an impact on mental health and we’re already seeing that increased need there. We will be focused on meeting that need and hopefully our community who has already been very gracious will feel grateful and also want to support in that way.”

For more on the SL5K and how you can still contribute to the cause, visit runforsouthlake.ca or call 905-836-7333 x5108.

By Brock Weir



         


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