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Bellwood’s 5K Fun Run Raises Funds For Veterans

L-r, Joe Manget, CEO, and Cara Vaccarino, COO, of Edgewood Health Network; Kristen Cleary, Clinical Director of Bellwood Health Services, Bronwen Evans, CEO of True Patriot Love and Councillor Jon Burnside (Ward 26) at the Run for Recovery. Photo by Allan Williams.

L-r, Joe Manget, CEO, and Cara Vaccarino, COO, of Edgewood Health Network; Kristen Cleary, Clinical Director of Bellwood Health Services, Bronwen Evans, CEO of True Patriot Love and Councillor Jon Burnside (Ward 26) at the Run for Recovery. Photo by Allan Williams.

The crisp, sunny, early fall morning offered the ideal conditions, and the trails of Sunnybrook Park the perfect setting for the first annual “Run for Recovery,” a charity 5K run/walk hosted by North Leaside’s Bellwood Institute in support of the True Patriot Love Foundation.

“We had 156 runners or walkers registered and over 200 in attendance,” said Kristen Cleary, clinical director of Bellwood Health Services, who organized the Sept. 30th event. “For our first year we had a strong turnout, and helped bring the community together and raise awareness of mental health and addiction issues. I want to thank our sponsors and local businesses who donated so generously to our silent auction.”

Participants raised $5,900 for True Patriot Love, a national charity dedicated to providing essential support and resources to Canadian military members, veterans and their families. “Bellwood facilitates two programs for individuals who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), most of whom are in the military or are veterans,” said Cleary. “These individuals have served our country and deserve our support to lead healthy and meaningful lives.”

Laura Hearn, spokesperson for True Patriot Love, says the organization “funds more than 100 community-based programs across the country that address the unique challenges resulting from service, including mental health, physical rehabilitation, transitioning to civilian life, and the special needs of children.”

The route began on the Bellwood grounds in North Leaside, headed down Lyndhurst Hill into the valley, passed beside the dog park, crossed the bridge, climbed the trail behind the horse stables and followed the woodchip trail around the perimeter of the playing fields before heading back to the hill behind the stables, and retracing the route to Bellwood.

Both Joe Manget, CEO of Edgewood Health Network (the parent company of Bellwood), and Bronwen Evans, CEO of True Patriot Love, were on hand and ran or walked the route.

“I would like to thank Bellwood and the Leaside community for coming out and supporting True Patriot Love Foundation,” said Evans. “With your help TPL is able to show these military families that they are not alone but are passionately supported by the nation that they have volunteered to serve.”

Bellwood’s Kristen Cleary says she hopes next year’s run/walk will be bigger and better. The date is set for Sat. morning, Sept. 29.