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At Your Service: Stollery benefits from Luke's Legacy

Also: AdaptAbilities opens up new online silent auction fundraiser
FRONT fun run CC 8895
Youngsters led the way during Luke's Legacy Fun Run at Lion's Park last year. CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

The second annual Luke's Legacy Fun Run is now live ... and virtual. It really allows you to stretch your legs with a vigorous walk or run, what with its nearly four-week time period. It's all self-directed and physically distanced as per the new normal, but all proceeds still go to the same wonderful and well-deserving place: the six-bed, $2.5 million state-of-the-art Stollery NICU at the Sturgeon Community Hospital.

"We understand that this is a hard year for everyone after everything that's happened with COVID a lot of people have been off work or working a lot less. We are aiming for a goal of $5,000 but if we raise above that, that would be great, too," said cofounder Tara Abma.

The organizers have lowered their goal way down from $20,000 and they're also expecting a drop in participation from their 250-plus crowd during last year's inaugural live event.

Abma and her husband Brad started the event in memory of their young son Luke, who was only a few months old when he died in early 2018. He was born with a genetic condition that required extensive medical support at the Sturgeon, Royal Alexandra and U of A hospitals.

He ended up living 80 days, Tara explained, which saw him undergo numerous diagnostic tests and interventions including heart surgery. In the end, it was determined that he had a rare syndrome that was untreatable.

It was their hope to turn the tragedy of his life into a positive for others. They promised Luke that they would keep his memory alive, and they have done so.

"That was our big goal. We were there for 80 days and we received exceptional care. They did their best to help our son, and unfortunately, it didn't turn out a happy ending for us. Just doing this run allows us to share Luke with others. For us and a lot of bereaved parents out there, that's your biggest fear: that your child will be forgotten. We think about him every day, but for us to do this run or this walk, it allows us that opportunity to continue to honour him and his life and do something good in his memory."

This year, there's no registration fee. All you have to do is sign up, seek pledges, and make your run or walk as you see fit. The Abmas did their runs on their treadmills at home. The event continues until Oct. 22, the date that Luke would have turned three. Visit to sign up or make a pledge.

The bidding has almost begun

Check out what's up for bids at the online silent auction for AdaptAbilities opening Thursday morning. The Edmonton-based non-profit supports people who have special needs by helping them to develop the essential life skills that they need to grow, succeed and belong. Unfortunately, COVID-19 caused the organization to cancel its other fundraisers. They hope that this one will still keep their essential programs and services (including respite care) up and running. It has supported more than 2,000 families since 2004.

Don't delay with your bids as the event lasts only until Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. Find the auction at

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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