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Chilly Half fundraising to benefit ICU where Scott Matheson was treated

Scott Matheson collapsed in cardiac arrest at last year's race. He has made a full recovery, and this year's fundraising will benefit the ICU where he was treated

This year’s Chilly Half Marathon, which takes place in Burlington, Ont. on Sunday, March 1, is celebrating a new twist on the race’s fundraising efforts. While funds have gone to benefit the city’s Joseph Brant Hospital (which runners pass during the race) for many years, the money raised this year will go into a fund named for Scott Matheson, who collapsed in cardiac arrest after last year’s race. Matheson recovered, and Scott’s Fund will go towards new equipment for Brant’s intensive care unit, where he was treated.

RELATED: Chilly Half runner Scott Matheson: five months later

Matheson during last year’s Chilly Half, before he collapsed in cardiac arrest at the finish line. Photo: courtesy of Scott Matheson

“I think any initiative to raise awareness of runners’ health is great,” Matheson told us by email, adding that he makes a monthly donation to the hospital and wrote a cheque to the new fund at its kickoff this week.

After being without vital signs for almost 10 minutes, Matheson has made an almost miraculous recovery, and will be running the Frosty 10K on March 1, a year after his cardiac arrest.

Scott Matheson (in blue, left) with VR PRO and hospital staff at Scott’s Fund kickoff, Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington, Ont. Photo: VR PRO

Doctors determined he needed surgery to insert a stent in a blocked blood vessel, and he was transported to Hamilton for the operation. Over the next few months, Matheson recovered at home in Toronto, returning to work in April 2019 and undergoing a 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program. He started running again (slowly, keeping his heartrate under 140 beats per minute) during the summer. “My motto is now: start, finish and have lots of fun in between,” Matheson says, adding that it’s hard to believe the incident was almost 11 months ago.

The race is still in the process of nailing down a title sponsor for this year’s event, which will involve a major donation to the fund. Last year the race raised about $20,000, and the total since the race started raising money for Joseph Brant is about $180,000. Runners can get a free entry to the Chilly Half by raising $500 and to the 5K or 10K by raising $250.

For more information and to sign up, click here.