Thank You for Running For Chris & Supporting St. Joe’s

A Run for Chris Raises more than $46,000 to Support Young Adults Struggling with Mental Illness and Substance Use

Organizers of A Run for Chris include Chris’ longtime friend, Megan Roti, and Chris’ sister, Michelle Owens, who spoke about the devastating impact of mental illness and addiction on young lives.

St. Joe’s Foundation is incredibly grateful to the organizers of A Run for Chris for raising more than $46,000 to support young adults in our community who are living with mental health and substance use concerns. On August 21, the sold-out event brought more than 350 people together at Joe Sams Park in Waterdown, Ont., to honour the memory of Chris Owens, who lost his battle with mental illness and addiction last summer at just 26 years old.

Chris’ friends, family, former colleagues and community members gathered for a 5 km walk and run to raise awareness, and funds, for St. Joe’s Young Adult Substance Use Program (YA-SUP). Proceeds from the event will go toward the recruitment of a peer support mentor with lived mental health and substance use experience, who can help young adults in the program navigate their recovery while learning from someone who reflects their own experience. 

YA-SUP Social Worker, Marina Kennedy, and Director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, Dr. James MacKillop, both took part in the Run for Chris and are proud to convey that funds raised will support the recruitment of a peer support mentor.

From social workers to addiction specialists, YA-SUP is made up of a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians who treat young adults ages 17 to 25 who arestruggling with substance use early on, so they have the best possible chance of avoiding a lifetime of addiction. The
12-week program also has a dedicated Loved Ones education group to help family, friends, and other supporters establish positive relationships with young adults to encourage recovery.

From Rotarians to running clubs, A Run for Chris saw an outpouring of support from community groups and local businesses.

Thank you to all who attended, participated, volunteered, and donated funds to support Chris’ legacy and help other young adults and their loved ones get the care they may need, sooner. Thank you for running for Chris. Thank you for supporting St. Joe’s.
Learn more about A Run for Chris on the Foundation’s website. For local media coverage of the event, visit the links below: