In the five years since Mandy’s Moovers began, the annual Labour Day memorial walk has raised over $6,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation.
The group was created by family and friends of Mandy Rayner, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was two and a half months old.
Some might think the word Moovers is spelled wrong, but it was intentional. Mandy’s nickname was Mandy Moo.
Friends and family describe Mandy as being the type of person who always pushed others to do better.
“She very rarely had a down day, even through this whole thing,” said her mother, Darlene Cahill. “I think that’s what got her through, was her positivity. No matter how bad her day was, she knew there was somebody that was probably worse than her.”
Sadly, Mandy passed away on Oct 14, 2014, weeks shy of her 32nd birthday, from complications after receiving a double lung transplant.
Every year since Mandy’s passing, her family and friends have organized the memorial walk in her honour.
The 5K walk starts at the Old Stone Station Park in Alberton, and goes along the Confederation Trail. At the 2.5 kilometre mark, participants turn around and head back to the gazebo at the park, where a barbecue will take place.
Most of those taking part in the 5K wore purple shirts, with many of those being t-shirts with the words Mandy’s Moovers on them. The choice for the colour was two-fold. Firstly, the colour purple promotes awareness for cyctic fibrosis. Secondly, and most important, it was Mandy’s favourite colour.
When asked what Mandy was like, the words spunky and kind immediately came to mind for several friends and family.
“She never had a bad thing to say about anybody,” said Connie Doucette, her best friend. “If I went to her and said ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so mad at whoever,’ she would say ‘Why?’ and then look at the good qualities. She’d always look at the positive side of everything.”
Ms Doucette said it didn’t matter how down of a day a person was having, Mandy was able to turn a frown upside down in a heartbeat.
Mandy’s Moovers chose to raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation because the foundation granted Mandy’s wish to go to Florida back in 1997. Because of this, they want to pay it forward to help the foundation grant wishes to other children.
For example, in 2018, a gift card tree was created and tickets were sold on it. The tree was made of gift cards, each with a $25 value, all donated by members of the Mandy’s Moovers group, along with extended family and friends. The tree raised $2,581. The group will be selling another gift card tree in October.
When asked what Mandy would have thought of the fundraiser done in her name, the answer is a little complicated.
“She would love this, but at the same time, she would go ‘Seriously? All of this fuss for me?’ But she would have loved this, she would have thrived on all of this,” said Ms Doucette. “As much as she would have said ‘You don’t have to fuss over me,’ she would have loved it.”
The plan is to keep doing the 5K for as long as those in Mandy’s Moovers are able.