Candace Sutherland has overcome some insurmountable odds in her young lifetime – having experienced a childhood of poverty, dependence on food banks and a brief stay in foster care – and through it all, triumphed.
By the tender age of twelve, she began focusing her energy and talent towards a love for running. Running distances of ten miles plus, she competed in numerous marathons along with long distance prize races. From there, Candace dedicated her running skills to help raise awareness and funds for disadvantaged and marginalized people throughout Canada by initiating a cross country run coined, Vision 4 Hope. She shares, “many times on my way to train I would see lots of people at soup lines. Sometimes I noticed children in line and this would give me flash backs of when I went to those places to get food. I decided that is what I wanted to do with my running skills – use running to help bring awareness to what is happening to people.” Candace adds, “I have decided to run across Canada to try and make life easier for people who suffer from these terrible causes.”
With her final destination and the conclusion of her journey ending in Victoria, British Columbia on February 25th, Candace has chosen to support The Salvation Army along with three other charities, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Canadian Diabetes Association and The Canadian Cancer Society. By receiving a scholarship from the Ted Nolan Foundation, Candace looks to continue her mission of helping people by aspiring to pursue a career in nursing.
Candace’s Story … I was born February 26th 1993 in the city of Winnipeg. I have 2 older brothers. My family roots are from the Bissett, Manitoba area. I was born in poverty to a mom who has a disorder called mental developmental delay and a father who has schizophrenia. My mother’s IQ is that of an 8yr old. At an early age we relied on food banks to survive. As my mother never knew how to budget, we did not celebrate Christmas and Easter like the other kids did. At 8 yrs old my life was about to change drastically. A government agency diagnosed my mother with her disorder and took custody of us and put us into their system. They had plans of putting her into an institution.
My aunt and uncle happened to move back to Manitoba and came to visit us. They found that we were in custody and they wanted to separate us from our mother. My aunt immediately said that there was no way they were going to do that to her and took us all to Bissett. She was ready to battle the government over our custody. Together, with another auntie, we went to court and all agreed that there was enough stability with the family support to take care of us. We went to live with my aunt and uncle.
At the age of eight I took a liking to running and the longer I ran the more I improved and the more I enjoyed it. By the age of twelve I started to run distances of ten miles and greater and we needed to move to better my running skills and so we moved to Winnipeg. We started our training at a local recreation complex and many times on my way to train I would see lots of people at soup lines. Sometimes I noticed children in line and this would give me flash backs of when I went to these places to get food.
I decided that is what I wanted to do with my running skills – use running to help bring awareness to what is happening to our people. I would often run up to 2 marathons and many half marathons as well as numerous long distance prize races in a year. Money that I made from racing would go to buy food and feed our homeless.
At my age I’ve seen so much sadness in the eyes of the children and the eyes of the less fortunate and homeless. I’ve seen them come to me sick from cancer, diabetes, sick from poverty, sick from heart attacks and strokes. Many of these people passed on after suffering in silence. There are cases where people were not found for days after they passed on. We live in a sad world and sometimes it seems that nobody cares.
I have decided to run across Canada to try to make life easier for people who suffer from these terrible causes. I will be running from St. John’s Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C. starting on my 17th birthday on February 26th, 2010. I will be running for 4 charities. These 4 charities are meaningful to me because their mission is to help with poverty and health concerns that have affected my family in one way or another over the years.