Loyola Magazine

Run to Heal

Moved to action to support Black Lives Matter, Loyola student launched Run to Heal to raise awareness and funds for the Loveland Foundation

Following the death of George Floyd, Zoe Garceau, ’22, sought to protest in support of Black Lives Matter. She was living with loved ones with pre-existing medical conditions, and so the constraints of COVID-19 meant she had to think creatively about how she could act.

An avid runner who has struggled with her own mental health, Zoe decided to engage family, friends, professors, and her wider community through Run to Heal, a fundraiser she created to support the Loveland Foundation, an organization that provides Black women and girls access to mental health services.

She solicited pledges for each mile she ran for 30 days, beginning on June 10. From June 10 to July 10, she reported her mileage and the impact that this activism was having on her personally to donors and prospective donors in her circles, encouraging them to learn more about Black Lives Matter, the Loveland Foundation, and to contribute.

Her campaign and her miles raised $1,200 for the Loveland Foundation.

Zoe is majoring in Global Studies and minoring in French at Loyola; she volunteers in the Baltimore community through the Center for Community, Service, and Justice and serves as chair of volunteerism for Annual Giving.

She recently shared her experience with Run to Heal with Loyola magazine.

Photo of Zoe Garceau midair while jumping in a running outfit

I was extremely moved when I saw so many people leave their homes during a pandemic to protest and come together in support of Black Lives. I admired people supporting Black-owned small businesses and engaging in difficult conversations about racism in the United States.

Throughout my life, I have felt strongly about engaging with community service initiatives to support marginalized communities. I have worked as a camp counselor for children experiencing homelessness, delivered meals to families on Thanksgiving Day, and served at a children’s advocacy house in Newark. Through these experiences, it became impossible for me to not recognize that many of the people facing these disparities and challenges are People of Color.

We can all do something. Any action, no matter how small, is a testament to a person's belief that there are things larger than ourselves in this world that we must all work for.

During the spring of 2020, after many months of feeling out of control, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was fortunate in that my parents had the financial means to help me see a psychiatrist and therapist. They also value mental health “maintenance” and did not want me to live in pain. I recognize many do not have the financial means, the time, the access, or the support system to receive care as I did and do.

With my affinity to community engagement and running and my desire to transform my own struggle with anxiety and depression, I chose to run for pledges—and donate every dollar I raised to the Loveland Foundation, [an organization that prioritizes opportunity, access, validation, and healing for Black women and girls, specifically related to mental health services and resources].

After 30 days, I had run 90 miles and raised $1,200 from 33 donors.

Google Maps screenshot showing a running route totaling 7.19 miles Google Maps screenshot showing a running route totaling 5.62 miles
Two of the running routes Zoe created for Run to Heal.

I loved Run to Heal because the gratification was instantaneous, yet long-term. During each run, I allowed myself time and space to reflect and acknowledge a lot of my feelings and thoughts. Afterwards, I felt collected and accomplished.

Finishing Run to Heal was among the most exciting moments of my life. I was proud. I was proud of myself for being so self-motivated. I learned about how important it is for me to have a safe space to gather myself—and that I need to make the most of every minute, hour, and day. With that mindset, I can accomplish anything.

Of most importance, I realized I can only truly give back to others if I give to myself first. I did not feel drained nor frustrated by this month of training and, as a result, I was always looking for ways to improve my fundraising techniques. In the end, I was overjoyed to know people truly saw the genuine intent of my actions, which they shared with notes and with pledges.

I hope the funds I raised for Loveland Foundation have allowed even just a few women to feel like they are in the driver’s seat of their own lives. I hope my support is enabling women to not invalidate their feelings or suppress their thoughts. I hope anyone struggling with mental health sees this and knows that their illness does not need to define them. I believe someone’s broken heart does not need to impact their decisions going forward—if they can mend it first.