The Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation’s eighth annual fundraising run has a new name and method. Rebranded as the Ignore No More Run In Memory of Jessica Martel, the event will take place virtually to provide safer social distancing and to enable more people to complete the challenge throughout the day.
Jessie’s House, a recently opened shelter built by the efforts of the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation and community partners, provides a safe haven for those fleeing abuse, and is one of just three shelters in Alberta that supports victims of any age, gender, and gender identity. As the Foundation knows that the voices of boys and men on both sides of the issue (abuse and shelter from abuse) are important, the Foundation has partnered with Ignore No More to help increase awareness and support.
"When Michelle and I created the Ignore No More Run for Respect four years ago, our intent was to find meaningful ways to engage men and boys in the conversation around gender-based violence,” says Mike Cameron, who is a Canadian writer, speaker, philanthropist, and advocate against gender-based violence. “This year, partnering with the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation to bring a Father's Day edition of the run was the perfect way to expand the work that we are doing while helping to raise funds to support Jessie's House. Our hope is that all of the men out there will take at least 29 minutes out of their day to stand with us in this important conversation."
The virtual event calls for participants to do 29 minutes of activity, such as running, dancing, walking – any type of movement will do. The 29 minute mark is to honour Jessica’s life – a life that was cut short by violent abuse on the 29th of April, 2009.
In addition to the protection of social distancing, the Foundation and Ignore No More feel that switching to a virtual format allows more people to participate as they are not bound to gather at one location at a specific time. Since COVID-19 is disrupting incomes across the province, the registration fee is waived in lieu of pay-what-you-can donations. A participant profile is available that can be shared on social media and through email to allow others to provide support for the participants via pledges. Limited-edition keepsake medals are also available for purchase, and their proceeds will be used to support Jessie’s House.
At the time of this writing, two of the youngest participants had raised the highest amount of funds. While donations, pledges, and registrations are still ongoing, the Foundation and Ignore No More see the active, successful participation of youth and young adults as a sign of hope for the future. It proves that the message is reaching people from all walks of life, and that everyone, at any age, can make a huge difference.
To register or learn more about the Ignore No More Run In Memory of Jessica Martel, visit the registration page online. Remember, running is just one option. Pledge to move for 29 minutes on Father’s Day (June 21) by running, walking, dancing, gardening, biking, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, weightlifting – whatever type of movement you enjoy best. Not only will you benefit your health, you raise awareness and funds for a cause that saves lives.
Sadly, too many people, including men, women, seniors, and children, are turned away from shelters because of a lack of facility capacity. Jessie’s House is a vital shelter that provides inclusive access. Pledge to become part of the solution today by joining the Ignore No More Run and supporting Jessie’s House.