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Do You Mind if I Run With You?

Thursday, April 30, 2015 12:03 PM


I'd like to take a minute to talk about this picture.

The runner on the right is me (Corrie Schneider) on October 14th, 2012. I was approximately 30 km into my attempt at completing my first marathon (the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon in Toronto). The runner on the left is my sister.  If you zoom in on the picture, you'll see that my sister isn't wearing a race bib...or proper running clothes.  She wasn't supposed to run that day.

About 15 minutes before this picture was taken, I had reached the 28 km market and had turned the corner to head north on Coxwell Ave. Ahead of me on the sidewalk I could see my mom, dad, and sister holding up signs encouraging me to "Run Strong!". It's such an amazing feeling to be out on that road with people cheering you on and cheering you home. The truth, though, was that 15 minutes before this picture was taken, I wasn't feeling strong at all: my shoulders and lower legs were screaming with pain and when I finally reached my cheering section the only words I could get out of my mouth as I was running by were, "I hurt".  Before I could inhale my next breath, my amazing sister threw off her backpack, stepped off the curb and said, "Do you mind if I run with you?".  

No kidding, three years later, my eyes water all over again thinking about it.

My sister ran the next 5 km with me: making jokes, singing to me, and cheering me on...anything to try to take away my pain.  Then, in the best relay I will ever be a part of, she slipped off to the side of the road at 33 km, and my awesome husband took over and ran with me until I was 1 km away from the finish line.  Definitely 42.2  of the best kilometres my feet will ever travel.

In my experience, few things are more powerful than people rallying to lift someone up in times of challenge and struggle.  The journeys we share with women at One Spark remind me so much of that marathon: we are honoured to be introduced to the most amazing women and then to have the opportunity to say, "Do you mind if we run with you?". They are the might and determination that cross the finish line with their own will and strength, but we have the unbelievable experience of being there for a few kilometres on their journey.

And, so, in solidarity with women living with violence, my sister Marlo and I are so excited to reunite on the marathon course at the 2015 Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon, both of us officially running this year's race.  With our "2 for 2 Marathon", we are running to raise money to fund One Spark start-up grants for 2 women that are launching their own businesses as a means of working towards financial self-sufficiency in order to live free from violence.  Two sisters for two women entrepreneurs, and an end to violence.  (You can read more about One Spark's work at  http://one-spark.ca/.)

Our goal is to raise $4,000.  We're kindly asking you to consider supporting our run and to stay tuned as we blog about how the preparation and training are going.  We are so grateful for your support of One Spark's work to help women escape violence, and we look forward to an incredible journey.

Thanks for running with us,
Marlo Taylor and Corrie Schneider

To make a donation, please visit our CanadaHelps page at 


As We Celebrate National Volunteer Week, Here’s to our Board of Directors

Monday, April 13, 2015 3:08 PM

I don’t think I will ever forget the moment that the One Spark Board of Directors took its first breath. It was June 26, 2013 at approximately 1:00 p.m.  I sat across from Jo-Anne Liburd over a pint on a Front Street patio in Toronto and said nervously, “I want to talk to you about something”.  By 1:30 Jo-Anne was the founding President of the One Spark Board of Directors.

I know for a fact that many organizations have outstanding Boards of Directors, but as we celebrate National Volunteer Week, I want to share why I love the One Spark Board from the bottom of my heart.  So here it is:  I adore this crew because I asked them not to join and lead an organization, but to whole-heartedly believe in a concept and then to leap right into that idea with no guarantees of how it would unfold. There was no office, no staff, no coffee maker, no lights to turn off when they leave. There was simply an application for incorporation and massive, unassailable faith in what was possible.  They've been asked to take time away from the families and friends they adore and the daily work that fills their plates, and to commit to reviewing programs, approving minutes, developing policy, discussing finances, organizing golf tournaments, and – most importantly – taking on violence against women.  They have taken it on fiercely and, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, they have dared greatly.  As the Board of Directors, Jo-Anne, Lynden, Danielle, Marlo, Flavio, Heather, Howie and Rachel are the brilliant heart, brain, hands, feet, eyes, and voice of what One Spark has become.

Lucky for me, they are also 8 of the funniest people I know.

So, as we toast the volunteers that make the non-profit world turn, here’s to 8 amazing people that have collectively brought One Spark to life.  With an immensely grateful heart, I thank you.

Corrie
One Spark Executive Director