In her final days suffering from uterine cancer, Laura Jean Stankiewicz was determined to see her son Oliver’s new manufacturing facility for his company, Summit Tiny Homes, in Vernon.
And it wasn’t going to be a video on an iPad.
Nope. On Aug. 30, 2020, Oliver got a visit at the facility from his dad, David. In dad’s passenger seat was his mom.
“This was a woman who could barely get out of bed to go to the washroom. But she was determined to come see the facility if it was the last thing she did,” said Oliver.
And it pretty much was. Laura Jean Stankiewicz passed away Aug. 31, 2020, at age 59.
To honour his mother, Oliver will run 100 kilometres in 24 hours (or less) at the Greater Vernon Athletic Park track on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, and will raise money for the McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, the same hospital Oliver was born in 31 years ago.
“I feel like I have been given an opportunity, a path for hope, a way to give back,” he said. “I hope to inspire, to give, and to show people that they can make a difference, big or small, that can have a lasting impact on so many lives, families and individuals.”
Calling his event the MOVE4MOM Run, Oliver is opening the run to everyone virtually. You can take part individually or as a team, walking a kilometre or running 100 km with a team or on your own.
“Your goal can be one race, or accumulative for the entire month of May, individually or on a team,” he said. “Set your own course on the trail, road, treadmill or even around your kitchen island, and challenge your family and friends to run or donate.
“With COVID-19 likely still impacting gatherings and events, I hope each of you can set a target for May 9 and run on your favourite trail/road and know that each one of you will be running beside me in spirit.”
All the proceeds from the run support the McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre and the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation. The hospital played a large role in Oliver’s mom’s care.
“This is a way for our community to give back to the hospital that treats, cares for and connects this community,” he said.
First step if you’re interested in taking part is deciding how much to donate. That’s your entry fee into the race. If you decide to give more, there is a link on the race page to add a donation or there is an option to donate on the registration. Share on social media that you are in the race using the hashtag #themovementrun.
On the race page, you can sign up for whatever race you decide to set your mind to. You can also donate, purchase some The Movement swag and follow along on race day for all the stats. All donations over $50 above and beyond your entry fee will receive a free The Movement T-Shirt. All the profits of the swag will also be donated to the VJH Foundation.
Then, said Oliver, it’s time to get moving. Start training for the race to come and share your progress on social media, again using the hashtag #themovementrun.
On race day, you will need to register on Race Roster. Once you have registered, log into Strava and log your run. Once you have finished your run, upload your race time to the Race Roster website. On Race Roster, you can check out the progress of the other runners and stay up to date with placings, times, donations and race updates.
Oliver said his mom, who helped raise five kids, was big into quilting and knew a lot of people, would call his event for her “fabulous.”
“Mom always wanted us kids to follow our biggest dreams and she always supported everything we put our mind to. Even if it was a far stretched goal, like running 100km on a 400m track in 24 hours,” he said. That’s all she ever wanted, that’s what made her happy. To see her kids follow their dreams, set big goals and give back to the community.
“If she was here today, mom would be my No. 1 supporter. She would be so proud. Proud of this event, proud of the community for their support, proud of the retailers and businesses donating their goods and services to this cause.”