Run to raise money for the Taryn Stephens Award this weekend in Mississauga

For the mother of York alumna Taryn Stephens, who died last year of meningitis, giving back to the community is a way of keeping her daughter’s memory alive. The family is raising money for a Taryn Stephens Award at York this weekend, May 10 and 11, through the Mississauga Marathon .

Right: Taryn Stephens

"She was an angel," says Carol Stephens, Taryn’s mother. "You don’t get over things, you get through them, which is what we are doing with this award." The Taryn Stephens Award will go to a Canadian student at York University who resides in Ontario and demonstrates financial need and academic achievement.

The Stephens family and friends will attend the Mississauga Marathon this weekend, rain or shine.

Taryn passed away last year in August at the age of 22 after earning her BA (Honours) in English from York in June. Family and friends were left longing for closure following her sudden death from meningitis while on vacation in Spain. The award is one way they hope to gain closure. "She was a loving daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, aunt and a true friend," says her mother.

Having raised $7,800 already, Taryn’s family and friends need help to reach their goal of $12,500. The provincial government’s Ontario Trust for Student Support will then match the initial gift, creating a $25,000 permanently endowed fund for eligible students. Proceeds from this fund will award a student $1,250 each year in perpetuity.

Left: Carol Stephens (left), Taryn Stephens and Taryn’s grandmother, Anne 

Born nine weeks premature and just over three pounds, Taryn’s family knew she was a miracle. Taryn was an energetic student who was involved in many different activities from Girl Guides to dance. After graduating from King City Secondary School in 2003, Taryn was accepted as part of the double cohort to study English in York’s Faculty of Arts. "She enjoyed her time at York and we are very proud of her," says Stephens.

The Mississauga Marathon is a great way to get involved and support the Stephens family. "It’s a nice route and a great way to raise money," says Bonny Bracken, a friend of the Stephens family. About 14 of Taryn’s family and friends will join the Mississauga Marathon by walking in the Reebok Half Marathon on May 11 and would love more support.

For more information or to donate, contact Kim Wymes, senior development officer, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, at 416-650-8210 or or visit the York University Foundation Web site.