A Walk in the Park
July-August 2009
“I’m entering a marathon. Would you like to join me?” I asked my husband as I came home from work the other day. Gosh! He couldn’t have been more surprised had I said I was going off into space with Julie Payette. “You, you are going to run a marathon?” True, I never really showed much interest for the sport and this irks my husband. Last winter, discouraged with my lack of hockey knowledge, he shared this piece of advice with me: “Honey, should someone talk hockey with you during a social gathering, just nod, smile and say nothing. You may appear little dense but if you say something it will just be worse.”

Okay. A few precisions. I will not run a marathon: I will walk. Furthermore, it’s not an expert course for accomplished athletes; it’s a simple 5 kilometre run. I should be fine. Only… only, all of a sudden I’m plagued with doubts; a marathon, is that like a competition, do we have to hurry and try to finish first? I can already see myself getting to the finish line last, drenched in sweat. Naturally: with my relatively short…ish stature, 5 feet, my strides are limited; I burn up a lot more energy per kilometre than most! I can just see myself getting there drenched in sweat. No one is left. They’ve been gone for at least an hour… A truly sad marathon, for me. Quick, get the dictionary. “Marathon: A long-distance foot race, officially measured at 42.195 km.” OMG! I think I got everything confused.
 
Deep breaths. Do we really have to hurry? A quick look at the brochure and I feel reassured: there is no time limit to the 5 kilometre event. This event is not about speed. It’s going to be fine. To clear up the issue, I will never again say that I entered a marathon. Instead, I will say that I will take part in the “Health 5K,” that’s what they call this event in the Marathon des Deux Rives SSQ brochure. My sudden interest in this huge gathering comes from the fact that, this year, the SOCODEVI Foundation is involved and intends to collect the funds needed to purchase an ambulance for the Sikasso regional health mutual in Mali.
 
Sikasso is, based on its population, the second largest city in Mali. According to the statistics collected during a demographic and health study of the country, there is much to do in terms of health: one woman dies in childbirth every 3 hours and one child under the age of 5 leaves this earth every 5 minutes. And yet it wouldn’t take much. Something as simple as access to basic services would significantly change statistics and save lives. And this is exactly what the purchase of a new ambulance by SOCODEVI will do. But this is not an isolated gesture on their part. Last year, Mali’s Minister of Health acquired some twenty ambulances to improve access to health services and counter the high mortality rate in mothers and children that afflicts this country. 
 
To walk 5 kilometres for such a good cause is nothing. A proverbial walk in the park. Almost everyone can do it. And since it is set in a bucolic setting: along the banks of the St-Laurence river in Québec. Add a little sunshine and you’ve got an ideal vacation day! We’ll understand if you can’t join us! You can still support the project by sponsoring a participant. We will be legion. And if you don’t know anyone who’s participating, let me know! I will accept your sponsorship with great pleasure and walk on your behalf. Together, we’ll buy an ambulance.

Colette Lebel
 

Colette Lebel, agr.
Director Cooperative Affairs
and Board Secretary Assistant
La Coop fédérée
Email: colette.lebel@lacoop.coop
Fax: 514 850-2567
 



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