When Newmarket’s Krissy Young laced up her running shoes and launched the inaugural Baby, I Was Born to Run team in support of the Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake, it was with her young twins – Connor and Kyle – in mind.
In 2017, the boys had entered the world eight weeks premature – a terrifying and stressful experience that left Krissy and her husband shattered. But after 26 days in Southlake Regional Heath Centre’s neonatal intensive care unit, where the boys were hooked up to mechanical ventilation and intubated, they were home, healthy, safe and strong – all thanks to the NICU’s “miraculous” team of doctors, nurses and therapists.
To thank Southlake for their “phenomenal” care, Baby, I Was Born to Run raises funds for the hospital annually, collecting donations through a dedicated fundraising page.
Now four years into the marathon, some extra special team members are taking over from Young – her children Connor, Kyle, Liam and Charlotte, who aim to be the largest and youngest team taking part in 2023 Run for Southlake challenge.
“It is crazy to think that just five years ago, all four kids were in diapers and this year, they will all run together,” said Krissy Young.
To help raise money for Southlake’s NICU and pediatrics department, the siblings have been undertaking a variety of fundraising initiatives – alongside hitting the pavement themselves April 30, the official in-person run day. Their motto, this year, is “kids helping kids”.
In April, they sold Tulips for Toonies door-to-door throughout their neighbourhood, raising a “fantastic” $456. A snack and treat sale at Newmarket’s Cachet Supper Club – a longtime supporter of Young and her run – raised an additional $367 for the team.
Padding out the family’s efforts is an online auction with “something for everyone,” which closes April 28 at 9 p.m. All proceeds will benefit Southlake’s NICU directly.
Led by team captain Liam – the eldest – the siblings are also organizing future fundraising plans, creating signs, making class presentations, and speaking on school announcements to support the team.
It’s safe to say their efforts have been successful – with Southlake’s event fundraising closing May 4, they’ve already surpassed their fundraising goal of $8,000.
“I am incredibly proud of my kids for being so excited to be a part of this initiative and the leadership that they have demonstrated,” said Young. “It’s important to understand the value of not only giving back to our community but also the meaning of paying it forward to help others. My kids are learning to do that and in such a meaningful way.”
“Over the past six weeks, the kids have shared our family’s Southlake story with many, and every time I hear them, it always includes the words: 'to thank Southlake and to help other babies and families'” said Young. “It’s wonderful that they are contributing to our community and hopefully inspiring others to as well.”