Kali Burrows was so sick.
She felt like there was no hope for her.
She was consumed by depression, self-loathing, and defeat.
She even contemplated suicide or self-harm, until she walked in the door of Mercy Canada’s Christian-based residential program on the Surrey-Langley border in November 2015.
“I was in this deep, dark pit and felt really helpless,” she told an attentive crowd at a weekend fundraiser.
Now, at 21, Burrows has graduated from the program and was in Aldergrove Saturday morning to share her story with some 170 runners who came out – despite rain – to participate in the 13th annual Run for Mercy 5K fundraising run and walk.
It was Burrows’ second time at the Run for Mercy, but her first time public speaking, and she explained to the crowd how an eating disorder and depression were ruining her life, and how Mercy gave her the tools to turn that around.
“They gave me an opportunity to work through past hurts and to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle – spiritually, physically, and mentally,” she said, explaining that she graduated from the program last July and is now working with young adults through the Salvation Army and building a new life.
“They helped me take the first step in my healing process,” she said.
“I love Mercy for all they did for me, and I want to support them,” Burrow said of her attendance Saturday.
Saturday’s event raised about $40,000, but that number is still being finalized, said executive director Nicola Bartel, who noted donatins are still being accepted until the end of the month.
“So very grateful to all of our Run for Mercy participants who came out on Saturday,” Bartel said from a make-shift stage at Aldergrove Regional Park.
“This event raises necessary funds to provide a safe place to the many young Canadian women who need healing; spirit, mind, and body. I looked across at the faces of our current residents who appeared to be moved by the many who came out on a rainy Saturday morning. It is so great for them to see a community beyond our program demonstrating the value and worth of our young women by showing up, raising funds, and cheering them on. I had one father come up to me after the run and say, with tears in his eyes, thank you, it is a miracle that this place exists and we are very grateful.”
Currently, Mercy has 46 applications in process, and Bartel explained the financial need is ongoing.
“When I see these brave young women complete their time with us and step into their futures capable and confident, I know this is a wise investment. These are the future leaders of the next generation!”