Dave and Mallory Holmes know all too well what it feels like to experience infant loss. After losing their daughter in 2011, they started Charlee’s Run to break the silence and build a village of support for those who need it most.
“When we started Charlee’s Run, we set out with the goal to bring the community together in honour of the little ones who didn’t get to stay with us,” Mallory Holmes, event founder and Charlee’s mother, said.
With the 7th annual Charlee’s Run, taking place on May 6 at Tudhope Park, the Holmes family hopes to make a large impact on neonatal and paediatric care in our region.
For the Holmes family, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) will always be Charlee’s home. Through Charlee’s Run, over $425,000 has been donated to OSMH for important equipment- including a dedicated bereavement cart.
The Charlee’s Run bereavement cart is located within the Regional Women and Children Program at OSMH. The cart has resources and comfort items for those who experience a pregnancy or infant loss; including cameras, scrapbooks, teddy bears, and knitted onesies. Each year, a large portion of the proceeds from Charlee’s Run are used to restock the bereavement cart.
“We wish that no parent would ever need the bereavement cart, but we know that the unfortunate reality is that some will,” said Mallory Holmes. “It is our hope that these items remind those who are experiencing pregnancy and infant loss that they are not alone, they have Charlee’s village supporting them.”
Funds raised through Charlee’s Run will also go towards the purchase of Giraffe Warmers for the NICU, a critical piece of equipment for supporting and monitoring infants.
For the patients and families receiving care in the NICU, Giraffe Warmers are necessary to bring comfort, warmth, and support to fragile infants. Giraffe Warmers are used instead of traditional isolettes, also known as incubators, and make it easier to assist and observe the infants receiving care.
Having reached their initial goal of raising $100,000, The Holmes family is now aiming to continue fundraising to be able to purchase a second Giraffe Warmer. To do so, Charlee’s Run will need to bring in $20,000 more in donations.
This year, Charlee’s Run will have a record number of participants. With over 750 registrants, Mallory and Dave Holmes believe that their community will help make their dreams a reality.
“Since day one, the community has always been so supportive of Charlee’s Run,” said Dave Holmes, Event Founder and Charlee’s father. “We are so fortunate for our village and join our participants in remembering the lives of their little ones.”
Donations to Charlee’s Run can be made online, at the Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation, and at the event on May 6.