Toronto marathon to aid Hope for Children

By  Luc Rinaldi, The Catholic Register
  • September 2, 2010
Marathon TorontoTORONTO - The end result for Erin O’Brien, a runner in this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, is giving kids a chance in life.

As one of 200 runners who will be raising funds for the Hope For Children Foundation, O’Brien will be supporting underprivileged children and youth in poor conditions or foster care. Hope For Children, the fundraising arm of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS), is one of three featured charities in the Waterfront Marathon. In its fourth year of involvement with the race, CCAS hopes to enlist 200 runners like O’Brien to raise a total of $50,000.

“It’s both a personal goal and a goal of raising money for the charity,” said O’Brien, a member of the Foundation’s finance committee and board of directors.

The 21-kilometre half marathon O’Brien will run on Sept. 26 will be her longest race yet. She hopes to raise $5,000, doubling her efforts last year when she raised $2,685 running five kilometres.

The money raised by O’Brien and other participants will aid Hope For Children in assisting children and youth in need. Through fundraising events such as races and golf tournaments, the charity raises funds to support its multiple social and financial aid programs. These include a variety of scholarships, summer camps and child social services.

Among Hope For Children’s various programs and services is the Matthew O’Brien Scholarship Fund, established in memory of Erin’s late brother, Matthew. The O’Brien family, including Erin’s mother and inspiration, Mary Catherine, who was a child protection worker for the CCAS, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the fund. The scholarship covers tuition and book fees for four years of post-secondary education.

“To actually be able to go to post-secondary... to continue on in school,” said O’Brien. “It’s an amazing feat for kids who are in foster homes their whole life.”

There is also the Adopt-a-Family program, where donors provide Christmas presents for families in need. The Start-Up Fund, which helps youth transition out of foster care by covering bedding, kitchen and other household needs, is also one of the many programs that aid the 20,000 children that the CCAS serves annually.

“It’s about ensuring that Catholic youth are supported by the Catholic community,” said Mary Bowyer, executive director of Hope for Children.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will feature a full and half marathon, as well as five-kilometre race. Hope For Children will be joined by Second Harvest, a food distribution charity, and Gilda’s Club, a cancer support community, as a featured charity this year.

To donate or register as a runner, visit or

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