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Zach’s Story

For Zach and his family, the Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake is so much more than a 5K race.

It’s a way to honour and remember his mother, who passed away after two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at Southlake Regional Health Centre a little more than one year ago. Although the experience was a difficult one, Zach remembers the nurses and staff who went above and beyond to provide compassionate care not only for his mother, but for him and his family as well.

“It’s the worst time your family is going through, and they’re there for you,” he said. “We were there for two weeks, and the nurses formed bonds with me and the family, and mum, too. When she passed, you could see the emotion on their faces. And so you have the support of your family and friends in the room, but there’s also that extra layer of support, and they’re sad too. That’s what sticks with me about Southlake.”

It was because of that compassionate and high-quality critical care that Zach and his family decided to participate in the Run for Southlake, just a few short weeks after the passing of their mother. Together with friends, they formed Team Kimmy, and their fundraising efforts quickly soared. Team Kimmy was named the top fundraising team in the “Community Friends and Family” team challenge category. Thinking back, Zach remembers the strong feeling of support participating with two thousand people from Newmarket and the surrounding communities united in a shared cause.

“It was a great way of bringing people together when what you need in that situation most is support. There’s so many people there for the same reason, it’s a really powerful thing.”


Zach believes strongly in giving back to the broader community, a value instilled in him by his late mother, who he says always demonstrated generosity and kindness. It’s part of why he says he had such a positive experience at the event.

“You’re running and you feel your mum with you, and you also know that by participating you’re helping another family who might be in the same situation,” said Zach.

The 2018 event was an emotional one for Team Kimmy, falling so soon after her passing. Now, the occasion is a celebratory day.

“We miss her every day, but if it wasn’t for Southlake we wouldn’t have been able to be with her by her side during her last seconds on this earth,” says Zach.

For that, we want to give back to Southlake to ensure that any family that faces a similar situation will be able to do what my family got to do, which was to be there when she needed us most and to say goodbye.