When Leonard runs, he runs as a SickKids Warrior. It’s easy to do: you simply dedicate your challenge event – 5ks to marathons – into a fundraiser for SickKids, by registering at https://www.sickkidsfoundation.com/events/sickkidswarriors. Leonard’s connection to SickKids is personal. “I worked at the hospital for 14 years,” he says, “my mom’s been with SickKids 42 years, and my sister 13. My youngest sister is in the ER as a registration clerk.”
But he was fairly new to running when he decided to take on his biggest challenge so far – running the half-marathon at the 2017 Scotiabank Marathon.
“Funnily enough,” he says, “I didn’t consider myself a runner. That year, I decided to challenge myself physically.” His first race was a 5k mud run. “I survived,” he says, with a laugh, “so I thought, ‘OK, what’s next?’” He was on his way.
Today, Leonard works with SickKids Foundation as a fundraiser, but the first part of his career was spent with the hospital, working internationally in Doha, Qatar, and most recently in South Africa, getting the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital up and running. His international experience informs his decision to fundraise for SickKids when he runs. “An institution of this calibre has developed so much expertise in paediatric care, education and research – we need to share it with the world. I strongly believe where you live shouldn’t determine if you live. That’s our vision – healthier children, a better world.”
Leonard encourages anyone who’s running to do it for SickKids as a SickKids Warrior. And he’s got advice for those who are developing as runners: “If you’d asked me even a year ago if I could run 5k without passing out, I would’ve said ‘no’. But you just have to keep pushing yourself.” You can run as a SickKids Warrior, too.