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Lighthouse for Grieving Children Virtual Run

Lighthouse Run Gaston Family
Lighthouse for Grieving Children Virtual Run

Launched last year, the Canadian Alliance for Grieving Children and Youth (CAGCY) was established to bring together grief agencies across Canada, to share thought leadership and address the barriers experienced by organizations in this sector.

Local Oakville charity the Lighthouse for Grieving Children was instrumental in spearheading the Alliance, whilst also celebrating its 20th year.

“The mission of CAGCY is simple” comments Deirdre Thomas, Executive Director of The Lighthouse and founding member of CAGCY , “to ensure that grief and bereavement support and information is accessible to all grieving children and their families and the professionals that support them across Canada”.

Charities such as Lighthouse rely heavily on fundraising to provide services free to families in need and host signature fundraising events each year which are vital in raising necessary funds to provide hope and healing to grieving families.   As the ban on mass gatherings continues towards the summer months, these events are adapting to fit the restrictions and this year’s Run4Lighthouse, usually attended by over 1000 participants, has gone virtual.

The Run4Lighthouse ‘5kAnyWay’ encourages participants to be get out and take part however they are able: walk, run, bike, swim, dress up…be creative!

With the community nominating others to join the challenge, Lighthouse has seen participants register across Canada and around the world, stepping up and helping to raise essential funds.

A surge in the need for grief support is anticipated in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as families have been unable to say goodbye to loved ones and mourning rituals have been restricted.  With two-thirds of Lighthouse families being sole parents, the increased isolation and anxiety caused by this pandemic will mean grief support services will be needed more than ever.

Lighthouse families Sean Chard and Melissa Gaston share why the run is so important to them:

“Lighthouse is very special to us. In 2015 we lost our spouses, and our children lost a mom or a dad. Fortunately, both of our trios found Lighthouse right away, and the peer support we received was essential in our journey forward with grief. 

Our unexpected connection when we met was possible because of our shared experience with loss, and also because we each had wonderful guidance in parenting children through the loss of a parent. Lighthouse was a continued resource as we blended our families into one. 

While we all finished our Lighthouse journey in 2018, this will be our 5th year fundraising for them. We were married in February this year and it was an easy decision to ask for donations to Lighthouse in lieu of wedding gifts.  We were overwhelmed by the generosity of family and friends.

This organization provides an essential service to our community, free of charge. Please participate in the virtual event, or donate to a team, so that this important work can continue to help families like ours.”

Run 4 Lighthouse Information

Help celebrate community, stretch yourself to think of a different way to complete 5k,AnyWay, and join the challenge between now and June 10th.  Register today at www.run4lh.com or consider making a donation.

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