Event inspires cross-generational friendship

  1. StridesforStroke

When Anna Walpole registered for Richview Manor’s Strides for Stroke in support of Mackenzie Health, she had no idea that fundraising would have such an unexpected impact on her 11-year-old son, Aidan.

The marketing and enrichment coordinator for Richview Manor had many reasons for participating in the annual five-kilometre run/walk, taking place this year on Saturday, May 7. Primary among them was the opportunity to promote activity and wellness among the seniors living at the retirement residence.

She had also witnessed the debilitating effects of stroke and heart disease within her own family. Anna’s grandmother had a stroke when Anna was 14 years old. Then her father, like his before him, had a heart attack at 56. All this was top of mind when she registered to be captain of Movers and Shakers last year. The Richview team, which included many seniors aged in their 80s and 90s, was named the event’s top fundraising team, donating $35,000 to Mackenzie Health.

Anna was thrilled to see so many residents out that early Saturday morning. A number of high school students from Villanova College walked alongside them. Those unable to walk were pushed in wheelchairs by their children and grandchildren. One resident’s son-in-law even extended an invitation to friends at his Running Room group and they participated, too.

Like many inspirational leaders, Anna refuses to take any credit for her team’s success. “We were very fortunate that residents, families and volunteers jumped on board,” Anna said. Richview Manor hosted a number of fundraisers throughout the year, including Get Styled with Tory Burch. Anna also organized the delivery of a dunk tank and invited the community to dunk the Richview staff.

Anna was extremely proud of her son and the special bond that evolved between Aidan and Margaret, a 94-year-old resident. “They set a fundraising goal of $500,” Anna said. “Margaret raised $3,000 and my son raised $1,800, surpassing their goal. He was the top fundraiser in the category of 12 and under.” “I was so proud of Aidan. He knocked on doors in my parents’ neighbourhood and in ours. Any event we attended he asked family and friends for support,” Anna said. “Fundraising helped him so much, it did a lot to boost his confidence and help him come out of his shell.”

Feeling inspired, Margaret trained by walking around the perimeter of Richview Manor daily, some days, multiple times. She even wore a pedometer to track her steps. The new friends regularly called each other to offer encouragement and support.

Margaret offered to donate to Aidan. She was impressed by his determination and wanted him to win the fundraising challenge. “This was important to him,” Anna said. “It was so great for him to stand in front of his family, friends and Richview residents and exceed his goal.

To do it with one of our residents was amazing,” she added. While raising money to ensure patients in southwest York Region have access to innovative and exceptional care at Mackenzie Health is a reward in itself, Anna knows the courage it took her son to raise that money and how hard the residents worked to participate and that makes her incredibly proud. “It was just wonderful to see.”

The 11th annual Richview Manor’s Strides for Stroke 5K Run/Walk supporting Mackenzie Health is Saturday, May 7. Join participants of all ages as they walk or run around Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. It will be an amazing day full of fundraising fun for the whole family. Come out and support exceptional care in your community

Photo: Margaret and Aidan develop a prize-winning friendship

Note: It is with a heavy heart that Mackenzie Health Foundation shares that since we published this story, our friend Margaret, passed away peacefully Sunday, April 17 at the age of 95. We extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends.