The third annual Walk 'n Roll Fest for Healthy Kids presented by Whole Health Pharmacy Partners took place at the Woodbine Racetrack last Sunday. The 5K Fun Walk saw hundreds of participants from across Etobicoke walk and wheel their way around the Woodbine Racetrack to raise vital funds for children’s health programs at Etobicoke General Hospital.
Five-year-old, Giovanni Maciel, who was treated earlier this year at Etobicoke General for a blood infection, served as the Honorary Starter, officially opening the event from a platform above the start line. Giovanni’s family and friends participated in the event to say thank you for the compassionate care he had received.
“It’s incredible to see so many people come together for this cause and so inspiring to see that our community cares so much about their hospital,” said Michelle Machado, Giovanni’s mother. “We never need a hospital until we do, and when it happens, as it did to my family when my son Giovanni needed critical care, you are immeasurably grateful that someone paid it forward to help build and equip that hospital.”
The participants and volunteers of Walk 'n Roll Fest had big smiles and determined faces as they completed the circuit. After crossing the finish line, they were treated to a healthy lunch and entertainment that included bounce houses, face-painting, a petting zoo and games.
This was the third year the race has taken place at the Woodbine Racetrack and the most the event has ever raised, which is expected to top $105,000, a total that will be matched by the $15 Million Matching Challenge. All funds raised will go towards equipping the new NICU and expanded Labour and Delivery Unit in Etobicoke General’s new patient tower – which is currently under construction.
“I want to congratulate the Walk 'n Roll Fest participants who ran and walked for the young patients and families of Etobicoke General Hospital,” said Ken Mayhew, President and CEO, William Osler Health System Foundation. “Our honorary guest, Giovanni, is an inspiration to all of us and serves as a prime example of why the community must come together for the children. We are very thankful for our event sponsors, board members, volunteers, physicians and staff for making this day possible, and we hope even more people will join us next year.”
Osler’s Walk 'n Roll Fest for Healthy Kids is one of the most important events for Whole Health Pharmacy, the event’s presenting sponsor for the second year in a row.
“We want to be sure that our children and generations of children to come, will live the healthiest lives possible,” said Dean Miller, CEO, Whole Health Pharmacy Partners. “That’s why we partner with Etobicoke General, and that’s why we are pleased to once again do our part.”
With so many participating, each team had their own reason for walking or running – many doing so in support of family members, friends and colleagues being treated at Etobicoke General, or those who have had their lives transformed by the care received at one of Osler’s hospitals. The top fundraising team was the Women’s & Children’s department at Etobicoke General, comprised of 25 staff and physicians who together raised over $8,200. Other teams included Beaumonde Heights Junior Middle School Public, BMO, Ronnie’s Homecare Services, Mirage Banquet Hall, Toronto Police Service’s 23 Division, and many Osler hospital departments and caring members of the community.
Originally opened in 1972, Etobicoke General is undergoing a significant transformation. A new four-storey wing will add approximately 250,000 square feet of space to the hospital and offer expanded access to services – like emergency and maternal/newborn care – that are needed most by the growing community. Last year, 2,600 babies were born at Etobicoke General and, when the new wing is completed, the hospital will have the capacity to deliver 4,000 babies a year.
Special thanks to the sponsors who supported the Walk 'n Roll Fest for Healthy Kids including: Whole Health Pharmacy Partners (Presenting sponsor), Woodbine Entertainment (Venue and Lunch Sponsor), CIBC, Diamond Studio Inc. and Woodbine Toyota.