Canadians have been breaking a sweat for good causes — walking, running, cycling, dancing and climbing, among the most common activities — since at least 1967. That’s when the first Miles for Millions event was held to support Oxfam, and “walkathon” became part of our vocabulary. Late spring and early fall are high seasons for these events, probably due to the best chance of good weather.
Whether you are personally affected by a disease or condition, you know someone who is, or you just feel moved to support the cause, there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference. Here is just a small selection of the national and regional walks, rides and runs you can participate in, either as an individual or as part of a team:
- Becel Heart and Stroke Ride for Heart (May)
- Give the Gift of Life Walk (dates vary by location), kidney donation
- Relay for Life (dates vary by location), cancer
- Terry Fox Run (September), cancer
- CIBC Run for the Cure (October), breast cancer
If you’re looking for something a little different, you can climb a tall building (Toronto’s CN Tower) or a mountain (Vancouver’s Grouse Grind) for charities such as United Way, or play a variety of sports (Motionball Marathon of Sport) for the Special Olympics. As well, there are many smaller, local events that you can take part in. You could even put together a neighbourhood event yourself: The websites for many charities include tips for organizing your own fundraising event. If you’re not used to much physical activity, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before signing up. Check as well to see whether your employer offers support in the form of matching funds or time off.