The Healing Hearts Run returns to the Westshore
The Pacific Perinatal Foundation’s annual run is back to bring awareness about child loss and infertility
One in four women in BC have experienced miscarriages and pregnancy loss, and one in six Canadian women struggle with infertility. With an emphasis on supporting pregnancy loss and infertility, the second annual Healing Hearts Run will be held on Sept. 23 at Royal Roads University from 11am to 1pm to raise awareness and help the many families who have experienced child loss or infertility.
The Healing Hearts Run was started in 2022 by the Pacific Perinatal Foundation (PPF) as a way to bring the community together through shared experiences, to raise funds, and provide support and services for families across the Island. With a goal of raising $55,000 to support families with counselling, programs and support, the run is an important piece of the PPF’s mission.
“Last year we had physicians, midwives, counsellors, nurses, social workers—so many of the people who support families in our community were in attendance, really in solidarity and in support because it is something that all of us care really deeply about,” says Stephanie Curran, the co-founder of PPF. “I really look forward to gathering with the people who are going to come out who have lived through this and are still living through it ,because even when a loss has happened, however many years ago, it's always with you.”
A lot of work went into preparation for this year’s run. The event will include resources, donation opportunities, food trucks, entertainment, and even the Benjamin Boxes, a program started in 2008 by a mom who lost her 35-week-old son. The boxes are filled with personal care items to help grieving parents after they leave the hospital.
Benjamin Box. Photo: Pacific Perinatal Foundation
“We wanted to bring in more of the fundraising aspect to it, so this year there's no fee to join, but we're encouraging people to make a donation or to create a team and gather pledges,” says Curran. “The other thing we're doing is just trying to make it a bit more that people would linger and stay. This is why we'll have the food.”
The PPF was originally started by Charlene Chambers, who named it the Healing Hearts Foundation after the loss of her own daughter. Chambers died in 2020, and others involved with the project decided to continue the mission with the birth of the PPF, and they named the run after the original foundation to honour Chambers' legacy. Chambers worked on many projects around the Island that provided resources and challenged the stigma of child loss and infertility.
“What ends up happening is that people do get care when they're in the hospital, but they're there for 24 to 48 hours, and then once they go out into the community, there's no support,” says Curran. “There's just this gap in care, and we're trying to fill and support this gap so that there's more integrated wraparound care and support for people who go through this devastating experience.”
All donations for the event will go towards funding PPF initiatives, programs, and resources for families experiencing child loss or infertility. Knowing that this can be a difficult topic, Curran says the PPF is open to anyone in the community who wants to learn more or help with future events.
“My daughter ran a cookie stand yesterday on Cook Street, and there was somebody who stopped by, and she shared with me that she went through a lot of challenges and never got to have children; she gave me a big hug with tears in her eyes and said, thank you so much for this work that you guys are doing, and she and her husband are going to come to the run,” Curran says. “This impact of loss and this impact of how we can or can't grow our families is deeply meaningful, so I'm looking forward to creating that opportunity for people to come together in that way.”
Participants can take part in the five-kilometre run or two-kilometre walk on Sept. 23 at Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Rd. For more information, email [email protected].