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Quinn's Legacy Run to celebrate progress

When the fourth Quinn’s Legacy Run kicks off at Monklands Soccer Park Aug. 18, many of the participants will be running in celebration.
For Quinn
When Quinn’s Legacy Run kicks off Aug. 18, red balloons will be released in memory of Quinn Isla, daughter of Sarah and Lee Cormier. The run raises money to support families like the Cormiers, who’ve lost a child to sudden infant death syndrome.

When the fourth Quinn’s Legacy Run kicks off at Monklands Soccer Park Aug. 18, many of the participants will be running in celebration. The last four years of the run have been dedicated to raising financial support for parents who’ve lost their children to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but the event’s organizers hope that will be the responsibility of the federal government, come the new year.

Sarah and Lee Cormier started the run and the Quinn’s Legacy Society in 2014, after losing their four-month-old daughter, Quinn, to SIDS. At that time – and to this day – parents lose their parental leave benefits within a week of the loss of a child, meaning many are forced to return to work immediately for financial reasons, despite the emotional trauma.

To help address the issue, Motion 110 was championed by the Cormiers with the help of Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards, and was passed June 8. The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) was mandated by the motion to investigate the issue, and Cormier said it should be completed within six months of the day it passed.

“It’s surreal,” Sarah Cormier said. “I went to Ottawa for the reading, and just to hear your child’s name – you think, ‘Oh, this little baby. She’s doing right by a lot of people.’”

Cormier said a petition will also be available at the Legacy Run, collecting signatures in an effort to ensure HUMA takes action. Cormier said she and the community surrounding her are intent on making sure other parents don’t have to face the same struggles.

“It’s a very isolating experience,” she said. “We were the first people of anyone we knew who had lost a child, let alone to lose an infant child. [There was a] feeling like you had to go back to work, because what else were you supposed to do? We weren’t good employees, either one of us.”

The past four years has seen a community grow around Quinn’s legacy and begin raising awareness about the issue, and Cormier said the mood has turned from somber to joyful. This year’s run will offer fun activities for the whole family, including a beer garden and a kids’ zone, with a bouncy castle and face painting. Blake Richards and Mayor Peter Brown will be attendance, as well.

As for the future of Quinn’s Legacy Society, Cormier said they are “waiting on pins and needles” for the result of the investigation.

“I’m hoping the society ceases to exist as it currently is: financially supporting parents,” she said. “Because the federal government will pick that up. But I see it existing in that we might be funding research, or we might just continue to do events and bring awareness to SIDS. Ultimately, we’re trying to work ourselves out of a job, as it exists at the moment.”

The run falls on Quinn’s actual birthday this year, which Cormier admitted can be very emotional, but she said she’s excited by the progress they’ve made. She added she’s also proud to be able to continue the legacy of so many other families and their children, as well.

“To take something so tragic, and do good – it’s pretty awesome,” she said.

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