When B.C Children’s hospital helps a child and their family, it makes a connection for life.
That is the case with Nikita Pickard, who spent 10 days at the B.C. Children’s for open heart surgery when she was two years old.
“I had a hole in my heart, so they had to fix that,” she laughed.
Pickard is now giving back as she and the Colours 4 Kids run organizer, and fellow Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret, Sinclaire Lovett have been speaking at middle and elementary schools in the area over the last two years to tell their stories, how the hospital has impacted their lives and why students should participate or volunteer at the colourful run heading into its second year.
“They essentially saved my life,” Pickard said. “My dad said the people there were awesome, we had no problems. My dad stayed at my bedside the whole time I was there.”
While Pickard was getting surgery for her atrioventricular septal defect, her mother was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with her brother at the time and was given a separate room.
“They completely accommodated her as well, they have very good staff there,” Pickard said.
She said it’s great to come full circle now and help the hospital that saved her life.
“It’s awesome honestly. I had my last check up last year and they said everything was good and we had no problems,” Pickard said.
There are currently 100 people registered for the run on June 13, which starts at the Skaha gazebo, and registration is open until the day of the event. The cost is $20 per person and those looking to register can do so at Princess Margaret, Peach City Runners and Summerland Secondary. Teams of four or more people who register at the same time will receive a discount cost of $15 per person.
The event attracted B.C. Children’s Hospital staff, those touched by the hospital, neighbours and passers by as well as students last year.
Tessa Freeman, a Grade 11 student at Maggie, volunteered for the event last year when her female fit class decided to join the run, and now she’s back for more.
“I just like helping and Sinclair needed help,” Freeman said. “I’m really excited. I like it, it’s just nice to be surrounded by people who want to help in the best way that they can. If running is their way of helping, then it’s just nice to be surrounded by that.”
“It’s always an upbeat day,” Pickard said. “Usually when someone is sent to B.C. Children’s it’s not the best situation, so it kind of takes a different spin on it.”
There are currently 100 people registered, and Lovett is encouraging those interested to register prior to the run.
“It would be really great if we could have lots of people register before the run because I think a lot of people thought the registration was (May) 27th, but we do register all the way up to and on the day of the race,” Lovett said.
For more information visit the Colours 4 Kids Facebook page.