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Charlee’s Run honours the precious life of Charlee Holmes while supporting neonatal and paediatric needs at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

Join us on Saturday, May 4th for the 8th annual Charlee’s Run to remember Charlee, while proving hope and help for families who have lost a child

When Mallory and Dave Holmes launched Charlee’s Run 8 years ago in memory of their precious daughter, they expected maybe about 50 people to participate.

Mallory says, “We were blown away when a few hundred people came out and every year, the momentum has grown because the community of Orillia is beyond amazing. It’s bitter-sweet because we know as the numbers grow, those are people who have stories and are connected in some way to the loss of a child.”

Charlee’s Story

Charlee Claire Holmes was born on April 29, 2011, at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. Mallory says, “Charlee was only given a small amount of time in this world with us and sadly, we said hello and goodbye to our beautiful girl in the same day.

The pain of losing Charlee will never get easier for us. But as her parents, we know her life, however brief, has meaning and purpose, beyond just being our story of pain and loss.” The pain is made worse knowing that Charlee didn’t have the opportunity to grow her own legacy and reach milestones. Despite this profound loss, the Holmes’ have found comfort in the outpouring of love and support around them.

In August 2012, Dave and Mallory welcomed their son Keenan into their family. At only 2 weeks old, Keenan become very ill and was cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. Mallory says, “We are forever indebted to Soldiers’ Hospital and its staff for saving our son’s life, so we would not be the parents of two angel babies.” When the Holmes’ heard that the NICU needed funds, they determined that their daughter’s legacy would be “Charlee’s Run.”


Nearly $600,000 raised to date

Each year, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital designates the greatest area of need for the funds raised during Charlee’s run. Over the past 8 years, Charlee’s Run has raised more than $580,000 for Soldiers’ Neonatal and Paediatric needs, while also raising awareness for pregnancy and infant loss. Mallory says, “It’s our hope that Charlee’s Run will continue to be an outlet for the community to come together to remember and celebrate the tiny lives lost too soon, while raising funds to support our community’s most vulnerable patients.”

This year funds will support the purchase of three new Panda Resuscitation Warmers to standardize neonatal equipment and ensure every twin receives the same level of care. Heather Saba, OSMH Foundation’s Senior Annual Giving Officer says, “The Panda Resuscitation Tables keep baby warm while displaying vital sign information. It has integrated oxygen capabilities to help standardize resuscitation protocols and many enhanced safety features. By combining these intervention tools in one place, the Panda Warmer gives our healthcare team the best chance of a successful outcome for high-risk newborns.”

A share of the funds raised are earmarked for Charlee’s Bereavement Cart, which memorializes the loss of an infant and includes foot and handprints, a picture frame, and birth certificate.

For the caregivers at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Charlee’s Run is a reminder of the profound impact their work has on the lives of patients and their families. Through the funds raised, they are able to enhance and expand their prenatal and neonatal care services, ensuring that every child receives the best possible start in life.

You’re not alone

Given that one in four pregnancies ends in loss, it’s likely that you know someone whose life has been affected by a prenatal or infant death. Many times, these losses are endured in silence and those hurting, struggle to find the support they need.

It’s crucial for parents who’ve lost a child to know that their child is not forgotten. Mallory says, “The fear of their child being forgotten and feeling alone in that loss can be profound. Charlee’s Run the Bubble Ceremony is meaningful because parents will hear the name of their child spoken aloud."

“As Charlee’s parents, hearing her name means more than I can put into words. She only lived 2 hours, and we thought we would be the only ones to remember her. When we see her name on thousands of shirts, it means the world to us as her parents to know her legacy has continued because that’s what parents want for their children. The fundraising is important, but Charlee’s Run is more about letting families know that they are not alone, that they have a village of people behind them to help remember.”

Mallory and Dave are always happy to see everybody at Charlee’s Run and share in the smiles, hugs, and tears from parents hearing the names and stories of their children.

Remembering the “little ones”

Nearly 1,000 participants are expected to gather on Saturday May 4th at Tudhope Park in Orillia to run, walk and raise funds in support of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in memory of Charlee Holmes. Mallory and Dave are hoping to make it a healing space for families where they can remember the “little ones” and tell their stories of loss. Mallory stresses, “As much as it is healing for us to be there and for people to come out for themselves, it’s also building this village of people that can come together and support each other and remember the ‘little ones’ that should be with us today.”

In the shared experience of lacing up their running shoes, participants are united in their commitment to honour Charlee’s memory and support families in need. For many, Charlee’s Run represents an opportunity to channel their grief into action, transforming loss into positive change within their community. Dave Holmes says, “We would give anything to have our daughter here with us today, but seeing this event grow and knowing the countless families and children this community has helped, there are no words.”

By shining a light on the struggles faced by parents who have experienced the loss of a child, Charlee’s Run promotes empathy and understanding. With each step taken, and each dollar raised, Charlee’s Run stands as a living tribute to the spirit of a precious child and the capacity of the human heart to find hope in the face of adversity.


Charlee’s Run 2024 presented by Lake Country Office Solutions will take place on Saturday, May 4th at 10am at Tudhope Park in Orillia.

Registration for teams and solo participants is now open. The goal is to have 950 participants. Individuals are encouraged to secure their spot. Each participant will receive a t-shirt and race kit. There are lots of prizes and giveaways as well.

Go online here to register or to make a donation.