Members of the York University Sport & Recreation Department headed out to High Park on Sunday, June 2 to participate in Chuck’s Run for Dystonia, a special event hosted in honour of Charles (Chuck) Saundercook and his family.
Sport & Recreation Director Jennifer Myers, former cross country team members Kevin Montgomery and Katie Coopman, as well as Steve Dranitsaris, the senior executive officer for the office of the vice-president, finance administration, all participated in the run.
Jennifer Myers with Kevin Montgomery and Katie Coopman
Myers received support from members of the York community across campus and raised more than $700 for dystonia research.
“I had a lot of fun at the run on Sunday and, more importantly, it means a lot to me to support a cause such as this,” said Myers. “Bill Saundercook is a tremendous supporter of our varsity program and I was happy to be able to give back and support his family’s event. I also want to thank the York community for supporting me to raise money for dystonia research. It was a great way to give back to an outstanding alum!”
Jennifer Myers with Bill Saundercook
“Chuck’s Run for Dystonia” is a walk/run in memory of Charles (Chuck) Saundercook, who was diagnosed with generalized dystonia in 1972 at the age of 11. In 1978, Chuck was one of the first Canadians to receive deep brain stimulation. He improved with the procedure but developed pneumonia and, in his weakened state, died at the age of 16. In his final chapter, Chuck donated his body and brain to help others in furthering dystonia research. Since then, the Saundercook family has been enduring supporters of dystonia awareness and research.
In his memory, the Saundercook family established the Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy at York University, given annually to a male athlete within the men’s interuniversity sport program who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, enthusiasm for life and the consideration of others.
Montgomery is a former recipient of the trophy, winning it in 2011. Coopman was also a remarkable student-athlete in her time with the Lions, capping her career with the Bryce M. Taylor Award in 2008.
Three of Chuck’s siblings are York graduates, including his brother Bill who was a varsity football player during his student years.