facebook pixel Skip to main content


King Man Celebrates 9 Years of Running for Southlake

78-year old Karel Span knows too well the importance of critical health care close to home, and has been fundraising for it for nearly a decade.

Schomberg, ON – 45 minutes – that’s 78-year old Karel Span’s goal for completing the five kilometer Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake this year. “Last year I did it in 43 minutes but I’m 78 so I feel like this is a good goal,” said Span.

For nearly a decade, Span has participated and fundraised for a cause close to his heart – Southlake Regional Health Centre – via the Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake. As Team Captain of the ‘King Curling Club’ run team, Karel has raised over $10,000 for the hospital over the course of his participation, last year raising $3,680.

“Both my wife and I have received incredible care at Southlake, primarily within the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre as both of us have been touched by the disease. The way physicians, nurses and staff treat patients here is exceptional.  Even during the hard times of COVID, they still worked so hard to be compassionate and make people like us feel comfortable”.

As a resident of Schomberg, Karel has rallied his network to support the event.  “The members of the King Curling Club are helping to drive pledges online, and we have pledge forms and posters all around the club.  I also speak to residents in my condo building about it and many of them have stepped-up to support me and the team”.

According to Southlake Foundation President and CEO Jennifer Ritter, Span’s story is exactly what the Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake is all about. “This is our largest annual community-based fundraiser at Southlake – the key word being community. Each year, we see champions like Karel advocate for Southlake and activate their personal networks to fundraise for the critical equipment needs across our hospital and we are so grateful.  When our community rallies around Southlake, the results are inspiring and nothing short of incredible.”

As spring weather finally starts to emerge, Ritter is hoping to see the community support the event in historical numbers.  “Last year, we had over 800 participants, run, walk or participate in their own way, on their own time. I hope our family, friends and neighbours will join Karel this year, so we can see registrations return to pre-COVID, with over 1500 participants coming together in support of their hospital and community!”

The 2023 Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake takes place on Sunday, April 30, 2023.  Participants are asked to fundraise a minimum of $100 for this year’s event.  Registration fees cover event costs, so that 100% of participants’ fundraising dollars can be directed towards the critical needs of the hospital.

Registration is open now at: www.runforsouthlake.ca

Karel Span with his wife Sandra Span