Giv’er and give

Taking it one step further. That’s what more than 3,000 youngsters participating in the upcoming Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run have the opportunity to do.

By Starr Cunningham

There’s little doubt you’ve heard of the annual Blue Nose Marathon. In fact, chances are you’ve participated in one way or another throughout the event’s successful 15-year history. I remember running the youth run alongside my daughter, Lily, who is now 15-years-old. At the time, she was so little I worried about her making it to the finish line on her own. She proved me wrong quite quickly though, leaving me in the dust once she got the sense she was close to the cheering crowd.

While the Blue Nose will be celebrating its 15th anniversary this spring, the Charity Challenge portion is turning 10. This fundraising component of race weekend is a great way to teach your child two important lessons at once. First, physical activity is fun. Second, giving is good for your health too.

We don’t need statistics to tell us volunteer work and philanthropy are positive undertakings. Anyone who has ever volunteered or made a donation already knows that. It simply feels good to give. So why wouldn’t we encourage our children to give, while they giv’er?

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is one of several official charities for May’s Blue Nose Marathon. We join a diverse group of organizations including Brigadoon Village, the IWK Foundation, Symphony Nova Scotia, and The Club Inclusion (just to name a few). Runners who wish to join our team simply opt-in to the Charity Challenge during registration and select the Mental Health Foundation in the drop-down menu. It’s never too late to join. Even those who have already signed-up to run can go back and select a cause to support.

Our youngest runner last year was just four-years-old. Small, but mighty, preschooler Henry raised more than $600 by engaging his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close family friends. It provided Henry with something else to feel proud about, and gave the people close to him an opportunity to join in his success.

Henry’s tally was high, but any amount can make a difference. The idea is to get our youth thinking about others, while motivating themselves. Generosity is good for self-esteem, creating positive attitudes, and generating a feeling of community. 

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is also a proud supporter of a successful running initiative within the mental health and addictions program. Our Running to Recovery grant gives inpatients at the Nova Scotia Hospital an opportunity to lace-up and enjoy the beauty of our abundant parks, outdoor and indoor tracks, and local trails. The project provides patients with different skills and techniques to build healthy relationships, increase self-confidence, and improve their own mental and physical health and quality of life. Some of our grant recipients have even completed the Blue Nose.

As for this year, Lily and I aren’t planning to run, but we will most certainly be donating to Henry and the Mental Health Foundation team, proving you’re never too young to inspire friends and family to make a difference in the lives of others.

The Blue Nose Marathon takes place in Halifax from May 18 to 20. You can register and find a complete listing of all the official Blue Nose charities on the marathon’s website at