“I’m there to support a great cause. Anyone can do it – you have to start somewhere.”
Lindsay Doyle has been participating in the Charity Challenge for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon for over 15 years, and she’s back again this year – her first attempt at a half marathon (21 kilometres)! She started with her mother, Ricki Harris, one of the founders of Gilda’s Toronto.
“I started supporting Gilda’s Toronto and my mother and her friends Linda Rechtsman, Helen Burstyn and Lorna Rosenstein (the founders of Gilda’s Toronto). I feel like I’ve been involved in some capacity from the beginning. Of course, I’m going to be there to support them.”
Lindsay got on the bandwagon through her mother, but her enthusiasm for Gilda’s Toronto keeps her going. She loves the positivity and the energy in the fundraising and on Race Day. She encourages others to try it for themselves.
Lindsay is now a fitness professional but wasn’t one when she started supporting Gilda’s Toronto in the Waterfront Run in her early 20s. She’d always been passionate about all types of fitness exercise, health and wellness, so this initiative was a no-brainer.
Lindsay has a great network of supporters who keep returning each year to support her Run for Gilda’s Toronto. But this year marks a first. She wanted to do more because sending out emails and follow-ups didn’t feel like much effort, so she’s running the half marathon! She hopes people will donate more if she’s running a greater distance.
“Folks will be saying ‘Whoa, Lindsay’s doing the half. I want to see that through! We’re gonna support Gilda’s Toronto, but it’s a bonus that we’re supporting Lindsay and her first half marathon.”
Lindsay’s family has supported Gilda’s Toronto for years. Ricki Harris is one of the founders of Gilda’s Toronto, and she and her husband, Mark Harris, supported Gilda’s Toronto’s first in-person Family Camp this year and have participated in and supported the Golf Tournament for the past two years. Lindsay has taken up golf and may participate in the Gilda’s Toronto Annual Golf Tournament next year.
The Toronto Waterfront Run is also very personal for Lindsay.
“The year my uncle passed away from cancer, we walked the 5K as a family group in honour of Uncle David Harris.”
What keeps Lindsay coming back? “That’s simple”, she says. “Gilda’s Toronto is there to support people. It’s so important and unique. Not many organizations support the social, emotional and mental side of cancer, and they provide support for the whole family. They help build a sense of community because cancer has touched so many people.”
There’s also the excitement of Race Day.
“The energy on the day is so awesome and fun. You’re not only getting the exercise and fresh air, but you’re making connections, and you’re supporting one another. You feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”
But what if you’re hesitating and aren’t sure you can run 5 kilometres?
Lindsay herself is a perfect example of the gradual approach. She started walking the 5K with her mother for a few years. One year Lindsay ran a little bit and got horrible plantar fasciitis. She said to herself, I’m not a runner. Then she got orthotics and some help, and now she’s training for the half; she’s an avid runner. Her husband has joined in, and they jog and walk.
Lindsay has some words of encouragement for you.
“You have to start somewhere. If you think of the amount of walking we do daily and tally up how far you’ve walked, I guarantee it’s greater than 5K. Anybody can do it, no matter what your fitness level. At the end of the day, you’re supporting a great cause.”