12-year-old girl raises $33K for children's hospice in Vancouver marathon

While the highly anticipated BMO Vancouver Marathon was pushed back by an hour on Sunday morning due to a police incident, the delay didn't seem to phase the runners too much.

Many of the participants have been looking forward to the foot race after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, each with their own unique story as to what brought them to the event.

A record 18,500 people registered for the race, which was marking its 50th anniversary.

For some, it was merely the challenge itself that convinced them to join, but for 12-year-old Charlie-Anne Cox, the marathon meant so much more.

“I feel good,” said Cox, who rolled through the 21-kilometre trail with the help of her parents.

While her wheelchair broke down partway through, they still kept going and crossed the finish line smiling.

"You feel good? Yeah, I feel great, too. Very proud,” added her stepfather, Drew Scollon.

Cox has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1, a genetic condition that causes muscle weakness and affects a child's ability to move.

She's been part of the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice program since she was nine months old and now, she wants to give back by raising money for the program.

"I didn't think I would cry today, but seeing her come through that finish line with a smile on her face -- you can't hope for more,” said her mother Cherie Ehlert.

The family aimed to raise $30,000, but surpassed that goal, having raised more than $33,000 by the end of the race.

"It's so heartwarming and beautiful to see the way the community has just enveloped Charlie-Anne and her family and help raise these funds for kids and families,” said Chantelle Bowes of Canuck Place Children's Hospice.

“We couldn't be more grateful,” she added.

The family said they were also pleasantly surprised by the amount donated.

Cox plans on racing in 2023 with a goal of raising $40,000.