J9 Sparkle Run raises awareness about mental health
Donning feather boas and other bright attire, 120 people participated in the fourth annual – third official – J9 Sparkle Run to raise awareness about mental health, May 13.
The race is held every year in memory of Jeanine D’Antonio, an active community member who lost her battle with depression on April 16, 2014.
Following her death, her friend Tracy McKay came up with the sparkle run as an opportunity to celebrate Jeanine’s life and capture her contagious spirit of fun—as well as her love for sparkles and boas. At first it was just supposed to be for a few of Jeanine’s running partners, but, before long, word had spread and 70 people had shown up in bright getups.
In 2015, the event was formalized and more than 200 Jasperites dressed up to run, walk or bike a five-kilometre loop around town, both in memory of Jeanine and to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of mental illness and to put an end to the stigma that surrounds it.
The event has since become one of the keystone events for mental health week which took place from May 8 to May 14.