Ron Nugent was not always a runner. Fur-dad, beloved brother, teacher – yes. But not a runner.
On July 5th, 2019, Ron’s sister, Cindy, passed unexpectedly. His family was completely caught off guard. Filled with anger and grief, Ron picked up the sport to help channel his feelings.
“I knew that running would give me the opportunity to channel my feelings in a positive outlet,” shares Ron. “I decided that I would sign up and start training for a half marathon that was being organized later in the year in Prince Edward Island.”
Just like that, Ron challenged himself to run 21.1 kilometers to help him through this heartbreaking loss.
“It was during my first training session that I came up with the idea of raising awareness and much needed financial support for the SPCA,” says Ron. “This would be in memory of my sister Cindy and all the incredible love that she had provided for shelter animals. My sister was an amazing person who had a very strong connection to animals – especially rescue dogs. In her lifetime she had adopted, from what I know, at least 5 dogs and I am sure there were many more that she helped find homes for.”
Ron reached out to the Nova Scotia SPCA with a goal to raise at least $1,000. We helped him build a fundraising page and he hit the ground running – quite literally.
“As I was training, I dropped by the animal shelter in Dartmouth from time to time to help keep me motivated,” explains Ron. “I knew this dedication to my sister was the perfect fit and it was definitely helping me with all the various emotions that I was experiencing.”
Ron is a big animal lover himself and has two very special family members at home: Lily-Grace and Jake. Their unconditional love played a big part in helping Ron cope with the grief he was experiencing. “Lily-Grace and Jake were very helpful with providing me that level of love and companionship that I needed, especially through this difficult time.”
Ron set out to raise $1,000. He surpassed it and raised $1,455 in tribute to Cindy.
Ron challenged himself to run a half marathon. He completed the race in his goal time.
And he’s not stopping now!
This year, Ron hopes to compete in the Blue Nose Marathon and fundraise for the SPCA in celebration of Cindy. He hopes others will join him and feel inspired to make a difference. “I want everyone out there to know that animals provide us with so much unconditional love and all they want in return is to feel loved,” Ron shares. “I know that my journey through grief has no time limits but the one thing I can say for certain is that having my two pups at home has sure made it more comforting. I would encourage anyone reading this to visit their local SPCA to volunteer or even provide a forever home for one of the special animals that are waiting for rescue.”
With no government funding for our shelters, funds raised will help rescue and care for animals in need. “Often times we forget the important role shelters for animals play in providing safety and love to animals that are often forgotten or abandoned, or abused in their present environments,” explains Ron. “The shelter needs all the support it can get.”
Ron’s half marathon challenge helped care for animals AND heal his heart. He will continue to run the road ahead – one step at a time – and know that he is honouring Cindy and helping himself and homeless pets in need.
Feeling inspired and want to join Ron? The Blue Nose Marathon weekend has been postponed to November 6-8, 2020 due to COVID-19 so you have lots of time to start training. You can sign up to race with our pack and walk or run for a cause you care about. Our team is proudly supported by Ren’s Pets so there will be goodies for you and your pet – plus, you’ll help save lives. Learn more here.