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Hospital Fundraising Run to Raise Funds for Neonatal Equipment

Charlee’s Run annual fundraiser happening May 4 at Tudhope Park

It won’t be long until spring, and with the spring, comes an annual fundraising event near and dear to many Orillian’s hearts: Charlee’s Run.

“Charlee’s Run is an annual event that raises funds for the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH)Foundation, and more specifically, for Neonatal and Paediatric needs at Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital,” explained Senior Annual Giving Officer Heather Saba.


The run is named after Charlee Clare Holmes, who was born at Soldiers’ on April 29, 2011. Sadly, Charlee only lived for one day. Just over a year later, the Homes family welcomed a son, also at Soldiers’. At two weeks old, Keenan was admitted to OSMH with a life-threatening illness. Thankfully, after treatment, he survived. Ater their experiences with OSMH, the Holmes family decided to create Charlee's Run seven years ago.

Tatham Engineering has been a run sponsor and has had a team in the run for the past two years. Senior Engineer Brad Laking explained why. “We wanted to support OSMH and the NICU through awareness and fundraising to ensure it can continue to offer such a valuable service to our community. The staff in the NICU saved our son Nate’s life on the day he was born, and we will forever be grateful to Dr. Gordon, Dr. Colpitts and all the nursing and support staff who worked tirelessly that night to stabilize him.”


Laking and Tatham Engineering staff have another reason to support the run. “Secondly and perhaps more importantly, we support the Charlee’s Run because we want to help create more awareness of how many families are affected by prenatal and infant loss,” said Laking. “We acknowledge how lucky we were to be able to bring Nate home with us. Our story turned out to be a good one but sadly, so many families never even have the chance to bring their child home.”

Charlee’s Run has raised over $580,000 for Soldiers’ Neonatal and Pediatric needs over the last seven years, and has steadily grown in participants while also raising awareness about pregnancy and infant loss.


Saba said, “This year, the funds raised from Charlee's Run will support the purchase of three new Panda Resuscitation Warmers (Panda Warmer) to standardize neonatal equipment. Panda Resuscitation Tables provide advanced thermoregulation (keeping baby nice and warm) while displaying baby's vital signs information. It has integrated oxygen capabilities to help standardize resuscitation protocols and many enhanced safety features. By combining all these intervention tools in one place, the Panda Warmer gives our healthcare team the best change of a successful outcome for high-risk newborns.”

Charlee’s Run 2024 will take place on Saturday May 4 at 10 a.m. at Tudhope Park in Orillia. Registration for teams and solo participants is open now. “Our goal is to have 950 participants and we do have a limit on participants,” said Saba. “Please sign up right away in order to secure your spot. Every participant receives a t-shirt and race kit, and we have lots of prizes and giveaways as well. And, through the Charlee's Run website there is also the opportunity to make a donation towards the Panda Warmers."

Saba finished, “We hope to see lots of Orillians out to run for our smallest loved ones. See you on May 4!”

To register for Charlee’s Run 2024, go online here.