A Simcoe Farmer who nearly lost his life to COVID and his family and friends are showing their gratitude for the care received at Hamilton Health Sciences. A group of dedicated fundraisers will run from Simcoe to Hamilton on September 24 as a way of participating in Strides For Health Care Heroes, a virtual fundraiser from Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation.
Among the group is Sarah VanNetten, whose husband Mike nearly lost his life to COVID-19 earlier this year. In April, the 45-year-old chicken farmer from Simcoe caught the virus and nearly lost his life. Thanks to the care he received at Hamilton General Hospital (including the Regional Rehabilitation Centre), Mike recovered after spending nearly three months as an inpatient.
His life was saved by an ECMO life-support machine, which acted as his lungs and heart while his body recovered from COVID-19. Proceeds from Strides For Health Care Heroes will support the purchase of an additional ECMO machine to help patients like Mike when they need it most.
As a way of expressing her gratitude for the care Mike received, Sarah is participating in Strides and fundraising with her team, which they have named “Chickens HIIT Chicks.” The “HIIT” stands for “High Intensity Interval Training,” as the entire team has been training hard for the event.
“On September 24, Chickens HIIT Chicks will embark on a 90 km relay as a part of Strides For Health Care Heroes,” explains Sarah. “We will start at our farm in Simcoe at 5:30 a.m. and relay in roughly 5K runs all the way to Hamilton General Hospital. We’re aiming to arrive there between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m.”
The idea for this ambitious relay originated with a group of friends from her morning exercise classes.
“I can’t take credit for the idea,” she says. “My workout friends took it upon themselves to plan this event in honour of Mike and the Hospital. These girls amaze me. We jumped in with both feet and we haven’t looked back since.”
The original fundraising goal for the team was $5,000, but they have already surpassed the