Mounsey Fund founders to embark on '100K in a Day' challenge
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund Founders Patrick Armstrong and Dave Matheson will be embarking on a 100-kilometre challenge this May in hopes of raising money for the organization.
The two men have pledged to jog, walk or crawl 100 kilometres in a day, travelling from London to Wingham in the course of 24 hours.
In an interview with The Citizen, Armstrong said he and Matheson will begin the trek in London at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. They hope to jog most of the way, but acknowledge that there will be periods of walking and plenty of breaks along the way.
Armstrong said he and Matheson anticipate the journey taking about 22 hours, so they hope to be coming through Blyth in the mid-morning hours of Sunday, May 16 and concluding in Wingham by about noon or 1 p.m. that day.
It’s only fitting, Armstrong said, that the event would end in Wingham, where so many of the Fund’s roots lie.
Dave Mounsey, for whom the Fund is named, was an Ontario Provincial Police officer based in Wingham. He was killed in a single-vehicle accident in 2006 and the Fund was established a few years later.
Before his death, Mounsey had trained to compete in a marathon in hopes of raising enough money to buy a defibrillator for the Blyth Fire Department, of which he was a member. After Mounsey was killed, the Fund was established to continue doing that work, placing life-saving defibrillators in public buildings across southwestern Ontario. To date, nearly 125 defibrillators have been placed in the names of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and soldiers who were killed in the line of duty.
To date, defibrillators placed by the Fund have saved the lives of three people.
The first-ever donation was made in Mounsey’s name at Memorial Hall in Blyth and the second donation was made in the name of Cpl. Matthew Dinning of Wingham at the Wingham Legion. Dinning was killed in Afghanistan, serving as a member of the Canadian military police.
Wingham, Armstrong said, holds a special place in the heart of the Fund and its founders due to its connection to so many of those who have inspired the Fund over the years.
He also said the men have a plan to not just cover the distance over 24 hours, but to honour those who have passed before them over that time as well.
Armstrong said that while the Fund has made nearly 125 donations, there have been a few donations that have honoured the same person twice, meaning 105 people have had defibrillators placed in their name by the Fund over the last 12 years. The journey is about 105 kilometres, he said, so they will be running down the list of those the Fund has highlighted over the course of their journey, working backwards to focus on Dinning and Mounsey (the second and first people honoured by the Fund) as they make their way into Wingham.
The pair will have a support staff of volunteers along the way to provide them with food, water and anything else they may need during the trip.
Armstrong told The Citizen that, like so many other not-for-profit organizations, the Fund has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It typically hosts two large-scale events per year – a ‘Dancing with the Stars’ fundraiser in London and the Run Around the Square in Goderich – that were both cancelled in 2020 and face an uncertain future in 2021.
While the Fund still had some reserves in 2020 and was able to make several donations over the course of the year, despite the pandemic, 2021 stands to be a bit more challenging, he said, if the Fund wants to keep up with donations.
This event, he said, was an ideal way to raise funds and maintain awareness of the Fund, but in a way that was safe and did not invite the potential for spreading COVID-19.
Matheson and Armstrong have set up a GoFundMe page for the event and all money collected will go toward the Fund and its work to place life-saving defibrillators in public buildings across the province.
To contribute, search “100K in a Day” at gofundme.com. As of press time, the Fund had already raised over $2,000 of its $7,500 goal.