Monday, December 11, 2023

Honouring Sam: one circle of relatives’s adventure on the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon


For Samantha (Sam) O’Neill of Ajax, Ont., operating wasn’t only a interest; it represented power and some way for her to connect with her neighborhood.

On Sunday, 1000’s of runners will lace up for the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Part-Marathon, and amongst them can be Sam’s father, Jim O’Neill, who will run the half-marathon accompanied through his daughter, Sydney, and a bunch of 60 friends and family in Sam’s reminiscence.

Sam O’Neill (heart) and her mom Gaye (left) and father Jim (proper) on the 2010 Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Photograph courtesy of the O’Neill circle of relatives

Sam died in April at age 34 after a year-long struggle with cervical most cancers. Her father’s initiative, the Keep Gold, Sam marketing campaign, objectives to assist others steer clear of experiencing the similar destiny that she confronted. “I would possibly no longer were in a position to avoid wasting my daughter, however I’m decided to avoid wasting the lives of others like her through encouraging other people to get examined,” says Jim. The Keep Gold Sam marketing campaign has to this point raised greater than $15,000 for the Canadian Most cancers Society, supporting cervical most cancers consciousness.

Sam’s operating tale started in 2009 as an informal half-marathon festival between her and her dad, which temporarily reworked right into a life-changing adventure, involving Sam finishing 11 marathons and coaching to qualify for the Boston Marathon ahead of she was once identified with terminal most cancers. Her adventure was once full of willpower and tenacity, as Jim and Sam participated in a large number of marathons in combination. Toronto held a distinct position in Sam’s middle, and the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon was once the place her marathon adventure started. It was once the primary marathon she and Jim ran in combination, and in 2021, she labored the development for Canada Operating Collection, including to its importance in her lifestyles.

Jim and Sam O’Neill stride for stride on the Toronto Goodlife Marathon. Photograph courtesy of the O’Neill circle of relatives

“Operating was once her hobby and her way of living,” says Jim. “She was once at all times coaching or on the lookout for her subsequent race, and she or he had the chance to take part in a wide range around the nation.” When Sam packed up her lifestyles in Ontario and moved to Vancouver, she didn’t know many of us, however straight away discovered her position throughout the East Van Run Team (EVRC), a bunch that blended her love for operating, socializing and the occasional beer.

Sam beloved the sense of neighborhood and belonging that the game gave her, and this connection deepened when she started operating with Canada Operating Collection (CRS). “She was once unbelievable,” says Charlotte Brookes, nationwide match director. “I consider interviewing her for the communications function, and she or he in an instant blew me away. The relationship she had with us was once deep. Her dad mentioned she felt this was once her dream activity.”

The reaction from the operating neighborhood to the efforts of the O’Neill circle of relatives to honour Sam on the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon has been not anything wanting exceptional. “The operating neighborhood is understood for its unwavering fortify, and Sam’s tale exemplifies the way in which operating opens doorways to significant and lasting connections,” says Jim. “Seven other people have flown in from Vancouver to run the half-marathon with the East Van Run Team.”

Sam along with her East Vancouver Run Team buddies Katie Gordon and Jonathan Ichikawa. Photograph courtesy of the O’Neill circle of relatives

EVRC additionally hosted a birthday celebration of lifestyles in Sam’s honour, demonstrating the profound have an effect on Sam had at the operating neighborhood.

“All of us confronted unattainable demanding situations and feelings right through Sam’s adventure with cervical most cancers,” says Jim. “Coping with a terminal sickness is a harrowing enjoy for any person, however witnessing my daughter’s decision to not let the sickness outline her was once in reality inspiring. Sam’s focal point was once on residing with most cancers somewhat than succumbing to it.”

All donations to the Keep Gold Sam marketing campaign will immediately give a contribution to cervical most cancers analysis in the course of the Canadian Most cancers Society.


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