Why one Calgary mom walks the Sport Chek Mother’s Day fundraiser

“I didn’t know what my NICU journey would be like, but I have never been more grateful to have the NICU at Foothills than I was the day Scarlett was born.”

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Katie Fraser says the annual Sport Chek Mother’s Day Run, Walk and Wheel event plays an important role in her family’s life.

Fraser, now a mother of two, said it was hard to believe her daughter, Scarlett Fowler, weighed just 680g when she was born prematurely. “She’s an absolute light. She’s incredibly smart, creative, kind and doesn’t mind telling you what she’s thinking.”

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Fraser credits the Calgary Health Foundation for being instrumental in providing support to her family at a very important time in their lives.

That’s why they’re running in the Mother’s Day event — in its 47th year — which supports Canadian charities Tire Jumpstart and the Calgary Health Foundation.

“It was actually the first real event I was able to do with Scarlett because of her maturity and the complications that came with it. She had been on oxygen for a few months, so it was really difficult to do the normal day-to-day things that a new mother normally likes to do.

Fraser said they were able to connect with other NICU families at the event, and this was her first Mother’s Day spent around other mothers celebrating similar journeys.

Unable to hold back her tears, the grateful mother said that the NICU facilities are one of the most underrated and under-appreciated parts of a hospital and medicine in general.

“Unless you know someone who was affected by the NICU, or was involved in the NICU, or needed the NICU, it’s really an unknown compared to ICUs and emergency medicine and things like that.

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“For me, this was just one of those things where I had no previous experience with the NICU; I didn’t know what my NICU journey would be like, but I have never been more grateful to have the NICU at Foothills than I was the day Scarlett was born.

For Fraser and her family, spreading awareness is key because she said it brings knowledge, exposure and opportunity to families with premature babies.

“What the NICU needs is opportunity, through funding, through research, through medicine and through the different resources at Foothills,” she said. “That’s what it means to me — through exposure comes opportunity for these young kids.”

Scarlett Fowler
Scarlett Fowler was born weighing just 680 grams at Foothills Medical Center. Photo provided by Katie Fraser

Czech sports for jogging, walking and cycling on Mother’s Day 2024

This year’s event is scheduled to be held Sunday at the Chinook Center, starting at 7:30 a.m

“Multiple generations of a family will walk together because they feel a close connection to one of our amazing charities — the Calgary Health Foundation or Canadian Tire Jumpstart — so we have a lot of groups that will have grandma, mom and grandchild in the stroller,” said Brittany Schuessler, associate vice president of integrated planning at SportCheck. : “Everyone walks together.”

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The feeling of unity and support from the other mothers participating in the event has special meaning for Fraser.

“Mother’s Day for me, since Scarlett was born, has been an opportunity to be a mother and to watch these two little girls grow and thrive,” she said.

“It brings back all the NICU feelings and how lucky I am to have become a mother and to continue to be a mother. Being a mother is so hard, even on a good day. So, when you have a baby in the NICU, It’s more challenging, and Sport Chek walking and running is just a celebration of that.

“If you have 10 people in your life, there is a good chance that 20 per cent of them will need your support. In Alberta, two in 10 women give birth prematurely and need neonatal intensive care unit services – like Foothills – and I believe that will touch your life in “At some point it definitely affected us.”

There are 5,000 participants registered for this year’s event, and nearly $40,000 has been raised as of Thursday afternoon.

Mother's Day run, walk and wheel exercise from Sport Chek
Runners sprint off the starting line during the 2019 Sport Chek Mother’s Day Run, Walk and Drive race at Chinook Center on May 12, 2019. Gavin Young/Postmedia File

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