Looking for a way to combine community service with fitness, and have fun while you’re doing it? Why not sign up for an activity-based charity fundraiser, such as a fun run, walk or bike ride?
Canadians have been breaking a sweat for good causes — walking, running, cycling, dancing and climbing, among the most common activities — since at least 1967. That’s when the first Miles for Millions event was held to support Oxfam, and “walkathon” became part of our vocabulary. Late spring and early fall are high seasons for these events, probably due to the best chance of good weather.
Whether you are personally affected by a disease or condition, you know someone who is, or you just feel moved to support the cause, there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference. These are just some of the national and regional walks, rides and runs you can participate in, either as an individual or as part of a team:
- The Terry Fox Run (September), cancer
- CIBC Run for the Cure (October), breast cancer
- The Becel Ride for Heart (June)
- Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes (May and June)
- Great Strides (May), cystic fibrosis
- Give the Gift of Life Walk (dates vary by location), kidney donation
- Relay for Life (June), cancer
- Ride Don’t Hide (June), family mental health
- Ride for Diabetes Research (September)
- Big Bike (all year), heart and stroke
If you’re looking for something a little different, you can climb a tall building (Toronto’s CN Tower) or a mountain (Vancouver’s Grouse Grind) for charities such as United Way and Free the Children, or play a variety of sports (Motionball Marathon of Sport) for the Special Olympics.
As well, there are many smaller, local events that you can take part in. You could even put together a neighbourhood event yourself: The websites for many charities include tips for organizing your own fundraising event. If you’re not used to much physical activity, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before signing up. Check as well to see whether your employer offers support in the form of matching funds or time off.
If you can’t personally ride, run or climb, you can still support a cause by sponsoring a participant. According to the 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating by Statistics Canada, 30% of Canadians (about 8.6 million) said they donated to charity that year by sponsoring someone in an event.
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Sun Life Financial is proud to support local fundraising events such as Ride Don’t Hide, on June 23, 2013 in Newmarket, ON.
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Find out how Sun Life supports the communities where we live, work and do business through our many donations and sponsorships, and see our philanthropy program guidelines.
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