Leslieville runner slows his pace to walk for orphans

By Kimberly Spice —

leslievileEven after a close call between her bicycle and a bus 10-year-old Teka was determined to travel the 10 km to school for her exams.

Teka, whose family was tragically affected by AIDS, was one of the many children with heart breaking stories that greeted Leslieville resident Ian Ross as he walked into the Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) refuge in Malawi last year.

“One girl that really stood out is Teka,” Ross recalls. “She was very outgoing, active, always had a smile on her face and was very chatty. Her father had passed away and her mother had given her up. She was really resilient and optimistic.”

Ross is still thinking of the young girl’s long walk to school but now it will be him and 16 friends and family that hit the Beaches Boardwalk for a six hour walk on August 8 starting at 11 am to raise money for the Malawi charity.

Teka’s treatment and recovery from her accident was watched over by FOMO who provide daily care for 4,500 children. In addition to emotional support they supply food, clothing and shelter as well as teach life skills such as tailoring and cooking.

“The most inspiring thing I saw was some of the older teens between the ages of 14 and 16, who have been part of the organization from four to six years,” reflected Ross. “You don’t see too often a young girl crying in the corner and a teen stops playing soccer, go wandering over, and not even knowing her name, picks her up.”

Previously, the 32-year-old, Ross had raised funds for FOMO while running a marathon in Ottawa but after witnessing the efforts of the organisation first-hand he found a greater desire to help.

“The more people we told stories to, and showed pictures to, showed more emotional attachment and offered to help out in anyway,” said Ross about people’s reactions as he shared his experience with his neighbourhood. “We thought early this year a walkathon would be a great way to bring people together for one cause.”

For more info visit:  www.givemeaning.com/project/project45.

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