Run for the Cats

The story to how we raised $6'200 in 2 weeks

Downtown Oakville TD Songs Summer Concert Music August 19 2017
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When we heard about the 100+ cats that were rescued out of one single home in the Halton Hills and the urgent situation that the OMHS is in, my wife Marion and I were thinking how we could help. Pets have always been an important part of our life, and have given so much to us. Now we wanted to give back. This is very near to our heart, as we have two rescue cats ourselves that bring our family lots of joy. As part of our principles in having pets, we always make sure to rather adopt a cat from a shelter than buying it somewhere.

While I was out for a run, I thought a unique way that I can help is to run the Oakville Half Marathon to raise money for the cats. I shared this idea with Marion. She loved it. Spontaneously  she proposed that I should run dressed as a cat. She and our son Malcolm would also dress as cats to raise money along the race route and the finish line.

At first I laughed out loud, but if that’s what it takes to gain awareness for this sad cause I would put my pride aside. Even though I’m ran out front for the cats, we also want to acknowledge the great people at the Oakville Milton Humane Society, who do a lot of the work behind the scenes.

A son of one of the employees actually dug into his piggy bank and donated 50 cents.

The need was immediate. In order to raise funds quickly, we sent out an email with pictures from the scene and asked for their support. This included friends, family, work colleagues and suppliers.  The great news is that my company generously agreed to match any money raised. Given the short time, just two weeks, we are very overwhelmed and grateful that we raised $6200! 100% of the funds raised will go to the OMHS, going a long way in helping to save these neglected and abused cats.

Marion and I are overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. Our estimate was just over $1000 and to exceed this by 6 times really blew us away. One of our suppliers at work also followed my company’s lead in matching employee donations.  With the supplier matching and my company matching 50 cents became $2. Every bit helps towards this important cause. We are very proud to “pay this forward” to the cats!

I have run many many races over the years , and this was definitely one of the most memorable. Prior to any race I’m stretching hydrating properly; however, for this one it was pretty tough to do dressed as a cat! There was a lot of smiles and smirks and “cat calls” prior to and during the race. At Fourth Line a large group of girls erupted with cheers. One even chased me in order to pull my tail. That certainly made me run faster, as well as the crowd’s cheers along the race course. In fact I posted my best time in 5 years. Pushing 50 I was surprised and happy given since it as a ‘run for a cause’ versus a run where I focused on really pushing myself for a PB (Personal Best). More than a bit hesitant when Marion came up with the idea to dress like a cat, but when a number of people read the message and came up to say “great cause man” and “way to go” I have to say that increasing this type of awareness made it worthwhile.

Andrew Shannon who raised $6200 of the OMHS at the finish line of the Oakville Half-Marathon

Andrew Shannon who raised $6200 for the the 107 cats rescued by OMHS at the finish line of the Oakville Half-Marathon

There are a number of key factors that helped to raise so much so fast. The efforts of my wife Marion and Wendy Shelly (who I work with and is a true animal lover) to get the word out and handle all the logistics including collecting donations really made the difference in making this endeavour happen. Also that it was a crisis situation for the cats that got peoples’ attention. With the sense of urgency people got quickly behind it. Finally and most importantly, it was the people that contributed that made it such an enormous success. We are truly surrounded by very generous and warm people in our lives and ultimately without their support we could not have raised so much so quickly.  

What we have learned is that sometimes all it takes is a little spark to ignite people to support a worthy cause, helping the cats with their marathon which has only just begun.

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