By Libaan Osman and Chris Sanders
Ryerson University community members will be participating in the annual Rams Care Run to raise money for the I AM Ryerson Kids to Camp Campaign at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
The marathon, which also includes a half-marathon and a 5K run, is set for Oct. 20. This will be the second year in a row that Ryerson participants are running under the Ryerson Rams Care fundraiser. The goal for the I AM Ryerson Kids to Camp Campaign is to eliminate financial obstacles that prevent families from sending their kids to summer camp.
“Last fall was the first year we did this particular fundraising initiative, which is one of many throughout the year,” said Suzanne Fenerty, Ryerson’s Community Engagement Coordinator. “Sending kids to summer camp is a big priority for us and it’s part of what we do.”
In 2018, Ryerson raised a total of $31,000 and had 182 people participate in the run.
“We had enough [money] for 500 spots to send hundreds of kids to summer camp,” said Fenerty. “The families are extremely appreciative of the opportunity and the goal is to give kids a wonderful opportunity that they can learn from and build positive relationships with our Ryerson folk.”
Fenerty says that 186 runners, compiled of Ryerson students, staff and community members, will be taking part in the run this year. The majority of Ryerson participants will be competing in the 5K run, while two other Ryerson athletes are set to take on the half-marathon. They will join roughly 25,000 other participants, who have the option to fundraise for any community charities supported by the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, which includes Ryerson Rams Care.
Since the origin of Scotiabank’s long-distance fundraiser in 2003, over $70 million of proceeds have been donated towards thousands of charities across Canada, with 100 percent of funds devoted to the charity of the runner’s choosing, according to Canada Running Series.
“This one particular [event] is fun in a lot of ways because we’re doing it to send kids to camp, but it’s engaging students and staff, it’s engaging people from athletics, and bringing people together for a common goal,” said Fenerty.
Going forward, Fenerty is hoping to see more growth in the fundraiser, primarily focusing on involving the Ryerson community outside of the athletics program.
After a successful showing in their first Rams Care Run, the plan was to raise $75,000 this year. But after not being able to recruit 300 runners, Ryerson is now focused on trying to beat last year’s fundraising total while still impacting as many families as possible.
In doing so, Ryerson athletics has added a free I AM Ryerson T-Shirt if a participant hits the $60 donation milestone and a $100 Sport Chek gift card if they raise over $500.
For the people involved in the marathon, the cause stretches beyond just the incentives.
“The positive vibe in the morning of the 5K, it’s a super rewarding experience,” said Fenerty.
“We received great feedback from last year of the people who participated. It’s a high-energy, you-leave-with-a-smile-on-your-face, kind of event.”