March Charity Highlight – Cystic Fibrosis Canada

AmeliaAmelia Steeves is three years old.  She’s a spirited, curious little girl with enormous, flashing blue eyes and chestnut hair that she is determined to grow as long as Anna’s in Frozen.  She loves playing outside, dancing in her living room, eating chocolate ice cream.  She prefers the colour pink – though purple will do in a pinch.  She has memorized the words to her favourite book,  I Love You Forever, and “reads” earnestly along with her mom every night at bed time.   In those and many other respects, Amelia is no different than any other preschooler, her main concern at the moment being that she is not shown up by her adorable seven month-old sister, Audrey.

But Amelia is different.  Every day, she battles a disease that threatens to take away her ability to run, dance, play.  Even to breathe.

Amelia was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a fatal genetic disease that affects her respiratory and digestive systems.  Diagnosed at just two weeks old through B.C.’s newborn screening program, she has spent her entire young life undergoing intensive daily physiotherapy and taking a veritable cornucopia of medicines that help keep her alive.

Amelia’s mom, Jessica, has struggled to come to terms with the fact that her beautiful daughter, physically perfect from the outside in, has inherited genes that guarantee her a future of continued struggle to stay alive, one where her lung and digestive function inevitably deteriorate.  That is, unless a cure is found.  Cystic Fibrosis Canada, instrumental in the implementation of life-saving newborn screenings across Canada, needs your help to continue funding the search for a cure.  It’s closer than ever, but being that CF is an “orphan” disease, it cannot be accomplished without your help.  Please consider Cystic Fibrosis as your charity of choice for this year’s Times Colonist 10K.  It would mean the world to Amelia, her family, and the thousands of other Canadians waiting for a cure.

CLICK HERE to read more about Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

March Charity Highlight – Heart and Stroke Foundation


Your donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation supports ground-breaking research, healthy living programs for children and students, and advocacy efforts to improve the health of all Canadians:

  • Since 1952, we have invested more than $1.39 billion in vital heart and stroke research, making us the largest contributor in Canada after the federal government. In that time, the death rate from heart disease and stroke has declined by more than 75 per cent. In 2013 alone, we invested more than $38.2 million in life-saving research, supporting almost 1,500 researchers in medical institutes, universities, hospitals, and communities across the country, and close to $53.3 million into programs that educate and empower Canadians to live a healthier life.
  • In 2013, 160,000 school children participated in healthy living activities through fun, interactive HSF programs, to start them on the path to eating well and being physically active every day. Over the past 8 years, the Foundation has invested nearly $3 million in strategic research in children and youth physical activity.
  • Our training in CPR reached almost 450,000 healthcare providers, first responders and ordinary Canadians in 2013
  • We proposed federal legislation to reduce the availability of cheap contraband tobacco, and we’ve made great strides: the smoking rate among Canadians (15+) is now 16 per cent, an all-time low
  • We have called for legislation restricting advertising of foods and beverages high in fats, added sugars or sodium targeted to children under the age of 13.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the Heard & Stroke Foundation

March Charity Highlight – BC Cancer Foundation

dr brad nelsonA wealth of recent scientific studies indicates that an immune strategy for cancer will lead to better outcomes. In fact, for virtually every type of cancer there is now clear evidence that patients who mount a strong immune response are likely to survive longer.

Led by Director Dr. Brad Nelson, the BC Cancer Agency’s Deeley Research Centre in Victoria is one of the first centres in the world to pioneer an immunotherapy research program that uses genomic approaches to generate more precise and potent immune responses against cancer.

In the past five years, DNA sequencing has become extremely fast, accurate and cost effective, and it is now feasible to identify all the mutations in a patient’s tumour within a few days. The BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) has rapidly become a world leader in the use of DNA sequencing to identify mutations in human cancer. This places the BC Cancer Agency in a unique position to develop a genomics-driven cancer immunotherapy program.

Enhancing the immune response to cancer using drugs, vaccines or T cell infusions will rid the body of residual cancer cells that may have escaped standard treatments, thereby protecting the patient from cancer recurrence. The BC Cancer Foundation is committed to funding the next phase of this important work: clinical trials. Funds raised through the TC 10K will help support this research which can make a tangible difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families. 

For more information on the BC Cancer Foundation, please CLICK HERE.

February Charity Highlight – Every Step Counts

Every Step Counts in an innovative community-based walking and running program that empowers individuals who are facing challenges with mental health, addiction, homelessness, social isolation, and other.  In its sixth year, Every Step Counts fosters a welcoming and encouraging environment for the six hundred and sixty participants since 2009.

This will be the fourth year that we will be running the TC10k, and we could not be more enthusiastic about joining the fun.  The TC10k gives all participants the opportunity to set and reach a goal, be engaged in the community, and show off their hard work.

Come out and join us in making Every Step Count.

For more information please visit our website.

Every Step Counts

February Charity Highlight – Victoria Hospitals Foundation

KaufmansFormer cardiac patient Brent Kaufman knows the importance of advanced hospital equipment. Last year, Brent and his wife Brenda were preparing for an adventure holiday in Australia when a routine medical test showed that Brent needed open heart surgery. During the operation, surgeons used a specialized ultrasound machine to find an additional problem which they were able to fix right away, helping save Brent’s life. The Kaufmans finally left for their adventure last month, and Brent’s heart is ticking along as strong as ever.

Every year, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation raises about $7 million for priority medical equipment at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals. Our current equipment campaign is helping to purchase three new specialized cardiac ultrasound machines that provide 3D, high-definition images of the heart used to diagnose problems and guide crucial repairs during surgery. These machines cost $725,000, and we have less than $200,000 left to raise.

It takes a community effort to keep our hospitals on the leading edge of patient care, and every donation we receive goes a long way towards improving healthcare on Vancouver Island.

Click here to learn more about supporting the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

February Charity Feature – Help Fill A Dream

Linden and Elsa Help Fill a Dream

Six year old Linden receiving her Dream trip to Disneyland from Princess Elsa.

Since 1986, Help Fill A Dream has offered hope to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands’ children with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their Dreams, improving their quality of life and assisting their families with care and financial support. Help Fill A Dream is a resource for families and has touched the lives of over 2,100 children.

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes. A child’s dream may be a trip to Disneyland or to meet their favourite celebrity or sports figure; while for their parents, the dream may simply be to spend time with their child as they undergo medical treatment or to make life more comfortable when they come home.
Tiffany Ma, our Help Fill A Dream Team honorary captain, has a very personal reason for running the half marathon and for making her run even better by raising money to support Help Fill A Dream. “I had a little brother, Tyler, who passed away from a brain tumor when I was young. This charity is near and dear to my heart as it provided my family with a trip to Disneyland when he was sick. They help families smile while they are dealing with so much pain and suffering,” said Tiffany.

Every dollar makes a difference. Your participation will help local children immediately. From special Band-Aids that make the poke of a needle a little less painful to becoming a princess in a magic kingdom; for a child facing the uncertainty of a life-threatening condition, hope and happiness help the healing process.

Tyler’s Dream of a trip to Disneyland came true in 1993 and for Linden, our most recent Dream recipient, her Dream of a trip to Disneyland will come true this month.

Please join us as a member of the Help Fill A Dream Team this year and make your run count.
Be a Dream Maker in your community.

For more information, please visit, email or call 250-382-3135. Thank you.


How Posture Can Help Your Running

Most of us got our first introduction to running or jogging in gym class. It was assumed that everyone could run if they tried hard enough.

Maybe the teacher just figured that if the kids did enough running that they would catch on. However most of these children never did. They either grew up to hate the activity that nobody ever taught them how to do, or are plagued by injuries caused by poor running form.

The first key to good form is proper posture. If that school gym teacher had known what to say, they would have told you to “run tall”. In other words, imagine that you are like a puppet suspended by a string. Your head is high, your shoulders are back and your chin isn’t too far forward.

The next form tip is to relax your upper body. A lot of people carry unnecessary tension in their shoulders, neck and face. If you find your shoulders creeping up to meet your ears, then it is time to concentrate on loosening up.

Your arms should swing forward and not from side to side. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and cup your hands into a loose fist. Your hands should come up to nipple level and swing back level with your hips.

The last big form tip is to control your stride. This is done mostly by ensuring that your center of gravity is not too far back and not excessively forward. Think of your center of gravity as being your sternum. Ideally, it should be ever so slightly ahead of your hips, giving you a bit of a forward lean. This allows you to use gravity to propel you forward. However, if your lean is too pronounced, you will start to notice tightness in your lower back.

Submitted by Bruce Deacon, our Online Coach. For more information on Bruce and our online coach program, click here.

30-day Challenge – for you and the planet!

35JA0215 30 Day Challenge 4-Page Insert.indd Let’s face it. Changing habits is not easy. Let us help you! This 30 day challenge is full of small tips to help you achieve your vision and personal legacy. Are you ready for it? We sure are. Start making small changes today for BIG results tomorrow. Visit Thrifty Foods 30-day Challenge to get started.

Created by Jessalyn O’Donnell, Registered Dietitian at Thrifty Foods

Made a resolution to get fit or stay in shape? Don’t cut the carbs out just yet!

islandfarmsCarbohydrates are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, the “quick energy” used by your body during physical activity.  Long duration, intense activity and strenuous intermittent activity can cause muscle glycogen depletion which can lead to fatigue and reduced endurance if your bodies’ glycogen stores are not replaced by eating foods rich in carbohydrates.

The BC Dairy Association recommends the following tips for maximizing muscle glycogen:

Eat or drink high carbohydrate foods (i.e. fruit/fruit juice, fruit yogurt, crackers, chocolate/flavoured milk, bagels, cereal, low fat granola bars), ideally IF_ChocMilk_1Lwithin the first 15–30 minutes of finishing activity.

Consume several high carbohydrate snacks in the 2–4 hours after exercise. Be sure to follow up your snacks with a high carbohydrate meal.

Include rest days after hard training or prior to competition (along with adequate carbohydrate intake), to ensure maximum filling of muscle energy stores. Remember, muscle glycogen stores take 24–48 hours to refill completely.

Recent research has shown that chocolate milk is as effective (or better!) than commercial products designed for recovery from a rigorous workout. In addition to helping replace lost fluids, the amount of carbohydrate and protein in chocolate milk is ideal for exhausted muscles.

NOTE: Consume enough carbohydrate-rich foods before, during and after long, intense activity.

Source: BC Dairy Association (Dec 22, 2014)