Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Teen's cross-Canada run to ease suffering of others

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It started with collecting turkeys for the hungry when she was just 12 years old, but that wasn't enough.Then in 2009, she ran from Winnipeg to Thompson in three weeks and collected nearly 5,500 kilograms of donated food.

Now, Candace Sutherland wants to run across Canada to raise money for four different charities, in a run she's calling Vision4Hope.

If all goes according to plan, Sutherland will hit the pavement running in St. John's, N.L., on Friday, Feb. 26. -- her 17th birthday.

Sutherland is raising the money for four organizations she says are "close to her heart."

They are the Salvation Army, the Heart and Stoke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Sutherland chose these charities because they hit home, especially because her grandmother is battling leukemia.

"A lot of my family are suffering from (those diseases)," Sutherland said. "If I can do something to help, I'm going to help. I'm not going to blind myself from it."

Sutherland hasn't set a target for how much she wants to raise because she says she doesn't want to open up the possibility of letting herself down if she doesn't make it.

"I don't have a goal, whatever I can do is OK," she said.

The Ojibway teen has been training three times a day since last summer -- biking, jogging and swimming for more than three hours a day. Her run to Thompson is a brisk jog in comparison.

"I'm going to start easy and slow just to get my body used to the fact that I'm running across Canada," she said.

Sutherland figures it will take her about a year to finish her run. She doesn't plan to let it interrupt her studies. "I still want to keep up with my school work and graduate when I get back," said the Grade 11 Children of the Earth student.

Sutherland has so far raised enough money to cover the cost of food and gas -- even 15 pairs of runners for the trip -- but is short on lodging expenses.

Sutherland's uncle, Ken, who'll be driving alongside her, said the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is expected to announce a donation on Wednesday.

"If everything goes well, we'll leave the city on her birthday," he said. "She's not going to give up, this is a dream of hers.

"She has made my eyes open quite a bit for what she's done. I'm very proud of what she's doing," he said.

Sutherland will run to Victoria.

For more information on her run, visit www.candacesutherland.com.

matt.preprost@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 16, 2010 B4

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