Your information hub for running in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island

Running and walking for autism

Memorial event raises funds for Project Lifesaver

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
May 28, 2017

CHARLOTTETOWN – It was in December of 2009 when Tracy MacKenzie introduced Tammy McQuaid to Project Lifesaver.
“We were trying to find a way to safeguard our children,” said McQuaid. “Her and I decided this would be the best fit for P.E.I. and we started planning – she would make the contacts with Project Lifesaver International and I would start organizing the fundraisers to purchase the equipment and get it off the ground.”
Project Lifesaver provides police, fire/rescue and other first responders with equipment and training to quickly locate and rescue individuals with cognitive disorders who are at risk of wandering. Both MacKenzie and McQuaid had children with autism.

Runners and walkers gather at the start line prior to starting the annual Tracy MacKenzie Walk/Run for Autism in Charlottetown on Sunday, May 28.

Photo courtesy of Tammy McQuaid

Tragically, Mackenzie passed away from a brain aneurism only a month later, as they were getting the P.E.I. chapter of the non-profit organization underway.
“Tracy was well known as a strong advocate for the cause and a wonderful support to her friends within the autism community (and outside) as well as an amazing wife and mother to her two sons,” said McQuaid. “And it is to her that we dedicated our signature fundraiser – the Tracy MacKenzie Walk/Run for Autism.”
The annual 5K walk/run took place in Charlottetown this morning and was a success, according to McQuaid, who is now the president of Project Lifesaver PEI. Mackenzie’s son Trent was the first client enrolled in the program, and remains a client today.
“It went really well,” she said. “We had good attendance and the weather was perfect.”
Volunteers from the local ground search and rescue team were among those on hand, as well as the manager of Good Life Fitness, who offered door prizes and more.
The event was coordinated with help from The Running Room in Charlottetown, and the local Investors Group provided a post-run barbecue.
“We had an outpouring of people donating door prizes also,” said McQuaid.