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Run Hand in Hand with Haiti

Winnipeg Health Region doc leads run to raise funds

Haiti run
Participants in the 2011 Run . . . Hand in Hand with Haiti event.
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Hand in Hand with Haiti

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Winnipeggers will have a chance to help support the delivery of health care in Haiti during a special run/walk event planned for later this month.

The second annual Run . . . Hand in Hand with Haiti will take place at 10 a.m. on Oct 21, starting at the Assiniboine Park Duck Pond.

The 10 kilometre run and five kilometre fun run/walk is sponsored by Education, Medical Aid and Service (EMAS) Canada. The interdenominational, charitable, non-governmental organization is based in Canada and in Hong Kong, and works with overseas organizations in health-care initiatives.

Dr. Pierre Plourde, a Medical Officer of Health with the Winnipeg Health Region and a spokesman for the group says money raised from the event will help construct a school in a small community on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital city.

The 2011 event raised just over $9,000 and saw 198 people do the five kilometre run and 138 in the 10 kilometre run.

Dr. Plourde has had a special relationship with the small community since he first went there as a medical student in the 1980s.

"I couldn't believe what I saw 30 years ago, the dire poverty, the sense of hopelessness as parents watched their children die, but also the determination among the members of this community to make their lives better by working together," he said.

Now, almost three years later, many continue to live in flimsy dwellings with inadequate access to clean water or sanitation.

Since 2004, Plourde has led community health-care teams annually to Haiti, to work alongside local physicians, dentists, nurses, medical/nursing students, primary school teachers, and construction engineers in a teaching environment, sharing skills to equip local Haitian professionals with the tools needed to provide quality community health care, primary education services and construction projects.

"To show how much we care, if Winnipeggers could literally run alongside, hand in hand with the people of this Haitian community, I'm sure they would; we are caring people. Attending this local event to walk or run shows our determination to help. And it doesn't hurt that the activity is a benefit to the health of our citizens, too," said Plourde.

Donations and all proceeds from this event go to EMAS Canada, which has been providing education, medical aid and service in Haiti for more than three decades.

EMAS Canada works with community leaders to oversee the construction of high-quality and safe buildings using local labour and supplies, enabling a community on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince to continue running a nutrition centre and primary school for hundreds of children, and assisting with plans for the future building of a community gathering centre/hurricane shelter, a community health clinic and a secondary trades school.

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