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Zach Makes Tracks at city council

Barrie boy is running for mental health

Zach Hofer brought his big fundraising goal to city council Monday night with a presentation about his upcoming journey.

The 12-year-old Barrie boy plans to run from Barrie to Ottawa to raise funds and awareness for Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre's future Child and Youth Mental Health program.

The articulate youngster and his family played a short video to council explaining his marathon.

"There's a lot of kids in my school that suffer from depression or autism and my mom still has depression," Zach said of why he is doing the run.

"Ottawa is where change happens and that's where Prime Minister Trudeau is," he explained of his choice of destination.

The presentation was made at the invitation of Councillor Doug Shipley.

Mayor Jeff Lehman will be among the well-wishers who will help Zach kick off his run on August 13.

"To be clear, not all the way," joked the Mayor. "In fact I'm going to be lucky if I can keep up with him out of the parking lot."

So far, Zach has raised $7,740, close to his personal goal of $10,000 even before his running shoes formally hit the pavement.

The caring young man started running when he was five and plans to run, scooter and bike during his trek to Ottawa.

He plans to cover about 25 kms a day which amounts to 9 half marathons in a month.

"I want to help kids so they can live a normal life and do normal things," he said.

Zach will be leaving from RVH on August 13 and expects to arrive at Parliament Hill September 10.

He doesn't aspire to be the prime minister when he grows up though.

"I either want to own my own shoe business of be a pediatrician," he said. "I like shoes."

Zach and his family will be unveiling more details of the run along with a donated RV they'll be using during the trip at a media gathering at Codrington Street Public School today.

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Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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