Boitanio Park was a spray of orange Thursday when 70 Kids Running for Kids participants and their supporters showed up wearing bright orange T-shirts for a community barbecue held by the city to recognize their efforts.
In July, the group began a relay run from Williams Lake to Vancouver, arriving July 7 to present a $77,726 cheque to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
They stopped in communities along the way to run and raise awareness.
The fundraising efforts continue and to date the group has raised more than $90,000, an amount BC Children’s Hospital Foundation communications director Stephen Forgacs said proves that every dollar counts.
“People think a gift of $10 or $20 doesn’t do much, but when it all comes together look what can happen,” he told the runners as they sat in front of the park stage, alongside huge thank-you cards listing dozens of supporters who helped them with their efforts.
Unlike the children Forgacs had taken a plane, he said, adding the runners told him he’d have to run a few kilometres while he was visiting Williams Lake.
Mayor Kerry Cook acknowledged the youths and their parents.
“You’ve planted seeds of inspiration, not only in these kids, but for the community as a whole,” Cook said. “There are so many positive stories coming out of Williams Lake because of your efforts. You are true ambassadors, unique and inspiring individuals.”
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett reminded the runners when she met with them on July 1 before they left Williams Lake to make the trek to Vancouver that she was proud of the $56,000 they’d raised at that point.
“Look what you’ve got now,” she chimed. “You will be helping special kids with the money you’ve raised for the hospital, but I want to tell you that you are all special kids. You’re our future leaders and I encourage you never to give up.”
Cook and Forgacs presented every runner with a certificate of appreciation, personally congratulating them for their efforts, while city council members, community policing and city staff served up a free barbecue.
People still wanting to donate toward the group’s fundraising efforts have until Aug. 26. CN is matching funds raised from June 30 and Aug. 26.