Super Women of Perley Health
The cancellation of the 2020 edition of Ottawa Race Weekend won’t deter the newest members of Team Perley Health. Marie Gauthier and Susan Davies, seniors who reside in Perley Health’s independent-living apartments, are determined to keep fundraising and training for one of the Weekend’s events – the two-kilometre race – with their walking poles. The two will participate in Ottawa Race Weekend’s virtual event on a yet-to-be-announced date.
“We met at fitness classes both here at Perley Health and at the local community centre,” says Marie Gauthier. “And we quickly became good friends.”
“Last year, we went downtown to cheer on Team Perley Health at Ottawa Race Weekend,” says Susan Davies. “It looked like a lot of fun and we saw that the Race accommodates people of all abilities, even pole walkers like us. So we decided to sign up and raise money for the Perley Health Foundation.”
Each year, Team Perley Health – comprised of staff, volunteers and community members – collects pledges to help fund the programs and equipment that support the exceptional quality of life experienced by residents of Perley Health. Marie and Susan will be the first tenants to join the Team, which has raised more than $60,000 since 2016.
The two have first-hand knowledge of some of the many programs that money raised for the Foundation helps to support. Marie volunteers with the Veterans’ choir, for instance, and also helps to deliver mail on the Perley Health campus. Every Monday morning, Susan indulges her newfound passion for woodworking by participating in a group session at the Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts’ studio.
Although not natural fundraisers, Marie and Susan will do their best to gather pledges. “It’s important that I stay active and maintain a positive attitude,” says Susan. “And as the saying goes, ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’”
On March 30th, organizers announced that the COVID pandemic had forced them to replace Ottawa Race Weekend with a series of virtual events to be held later in the spring and summer. Organizers continue to encourage donors to support charities that benefit from the Weekend, such as the Perley Health Foundation.
By Peter McKinnon