Sunday Oct. 13, thousands of athletes of all ages will take on the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. And many will be raising money for vital non-profit organizations, thanks to the CHEK Charity Pledge Program.

One of those organizations is Need2: Suicide Prevention, Education and Support.

“Need2 is a non-profit that’s been really involved in the community offering crisis support and emotional support, for about 49 years now,” says Justine Thomson, Executive Director of Need2.

The organization now focuses on youth under 30.

“Anything from their emotional health, questions about sexuality or gender, relationship troubles,” says Thomson.  “So it’s really an opportunity to reach out and connect and get support in a medium that’s comfortable for them, and is anonymous.”

The ‘medium’ Thomson is referring to is the digital world.

We offer Youthspace, which is online tech support for youth all across Canada. That program serves over 6,000 youth every year.”

Need2 is one of many non-profits supported by the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

“There are 21 charities as part of the Charity Pledge program,” says Cathy Noel, General Manager and Race Director.  “The program has been going on for 15 years. The charities range from large to small, and some want to raise $1000, and some want to raise tens of thousands of dollars.”

Because the charities are listed on the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon website, the Marathon’s support also raises the profile of those not-for-profit organizations.

“It’s a huge event. It’s really well-known in Victoria,” says Emma White, Administrative and Communications Assistant for Need2.  “We are a small non-profit, so we couldn’t do any of the stuff that we do without the community support, so it’s awesome, and it means a lot to us.  It’s also a lot of fun!  A few of us are doing the 8K together, so it’s fun for us behind the scenes, but it’s also great in terms of fundraising!”

“CHEK is now our title sponsor of the charity pledge program,” adds Noel, “which is great for helping to create awareness, and to help all of those charities reach their fundraising goals.”

The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is Sunday, Oct. 13.

Veronica Cooper