Billie’s Story of Strength

“I ran this race for all the kids who are struggling with mental health issues and for myself.”

Billie Clarkson


Billie’s story

On September 16th 2017, Billie ran her first 5K—the RBC Race for the Kids in Toronto. The race supports youth who face mental health issues—something that has been a struggle for her throughout her life.

Billie started training for the race with a single goal in mind… to complete it for all youth dealing with mental illness. Not only did she cross the finish line in 35 minutes and 15 seconds, but she did it with the support of friends and FCT colleagues. Throughout her journey, Billie was overcome with emotion as she witnessed the amazing turnout of people, all in one place to support mental health.

Why is it so important for you to support youth mental health?

I have struggled with this my whole life and I think the need for programs and funding are very important.  No one should ever feel like they don’t have someone to turn to, somewhere to go, or access to the help they need, especially kids. I ran this race for all the kids who are struggling with mental health issues and for myself.

How did you begin training for the race?

When I made the decision to run the 5k, I transitioned from running indoors on a treadmill, to running outdoors on the street. Let me tell you… running in the summer when it’s 30+ degrees with humidity is tough! By remaining focused on the cause, I got stronger and the run got easier—working my way to running at least three times a week.

How did you feel when you crossed the finish line?

It was amazing! Crossing the finish line at the RBC Race for the Kids was an unbelievable personal victory! There was a huge crowd of people waiting and every participant received a medal immediately. My family and colleagues supported me throughout my journey; my colleagues even sponsored my run.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get involved and support a cause like this?

Find a cause that’s close to your heart. Completing this race meant so much to me because of what I was supporting—it made every step of the way worth it. And find someone who pushes you to keep going. We all have moments where we need a little extra encouragement.


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