The mother of the two Oak Bay girls found dead on Christmas Day ran a half-marathon Sunday in their honour.
“Sarah did really well. She was really strong,” said close friend Trisha Lees who ran with Sarah Cotton and Cotton’s partner Scott Elliott. “It was a really good race but it was hard.”
Cotton participated in the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on May 6 to honour the lives of her daughters Chloe Berry, 6, and Aubrey, 4, whose bodies were found in their father’s apartment on Christmas Day. He is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths.
There were supporters along the course to cheer on and send strength to the running trio. People had organized to be at certain points along the course – some holding signs for Sarah.
“It made you feel like you could keep going. We did find it difficult in a variety of ways. It was more emotional than expected,” said Lees.
Friends were waiting at the end and the group had a little celebration. Someone came up and gave Cotton a big bouquet of flowers.
“It was a different kind of feeling at the end where we felt like we had really accomplished something – that we did something really positive,” said Lees, speaking both to the physical and emotional accomplishment as well as the financial one.
In advance of the run, Cotton set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the Mary Manning Centre and the Chloe and Aubrey Berry Scholarship Fund at Christ Church Cathedral School. They raised over $41,000 by race day.
The Mary Manning Centre responds to children, youth and families who are affected by abuse in all its forms as well as abuse related trauma, by providing victim services, counselling, prevention and education. Cotton’s hope is that through raising money for this important organization, waitlists can be reduced and access to counselling is more immediate.
“Chloe and Aubrey both received counselling from the Mary Manning Centre. Sarah noticed tremendous benefits from the counselling and she’s very grateful for that organization,” said Lees.
The Chloe and Aubrey Berry Scholarship Fund is a scholarship set up through the Victoria Foundation to provide scholarships to children attending Christ Church Cathedral School. It is the school where Chloe attended grade one and Aubrey was going to start kindergarten in September.
The GoFundMe page will be active until Sunday, May 13 for those who would still like to contribute.
More details at www.gofundme.com/chloe-amp-aubrey-memorial-fund.
“Sarah’s doing really well all things considered. Keeping up with things like running and having a focus has really helped,” Lees said. “It’s been important to stay on the positive to keep spirits up and to take care of each other.”