Stettler shoe store sponsors spirited sprint

Cold Lake resident will run 2,200 km to support girl with Down syndrome

When Curtis Hargrove sets out to run from British Columbia to California this spring, a piece of Stettler will be with him every step along the way Hargrove, a native of Cold Lake, plans to run from Port Alberni, B.C., to Burbank, Calif., beginning on May 31, a 2,200-kilometre trek that will take him to the studios of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

He’ll be taking along a blanket sewn by Angel Magnussen, an 18-year-old girl from Port Alberni who makes pajamas, pillows and blankets for young hospital patients and kids with special needs.

Magnussen, who has a non-profit business called Hugginz by Angel, is hoping to spread the word through an appearance on DeGeneres’ show, and Hargrove’s goal is to make that happen.

Along the way, he’ll need a few pairs of shoes to keep him going, and that’s where one of Stettler’s local businesses comes in.

Debbie Pooley, owner of the Shoe Closet and Boutique in Stettler, is sponsoring Hargrove’s run by providing him with running shoes for his journey.

She said she met Hargrove at an event in Red Deer last weekend, and after hearing about his plans, told him, “I’ll put you in every shoe you need for the entire trek.”

Pooley mentioned that she was intrigued when she heard about Hargrove’s fundraising efforts for the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, where her late brother was treated for a heart condition years earlier.

In August of 2013, Hargrove completed a run across Canada, raising close to $250,000 for the hospital.

Pooley said she was impressed by “the idea that somebody would go to that length to fundraise” for the hospital.

Hargrove has been fundraising since the age of 15, when he helped organize a floor hockey tournament that raised $25,000 for a Cold Lake girl with cerebral palsy.

At 18, he ran 1,450 km from Cold Lake to Port Coquitlam, B.C., for the Terry Fox Run, raising $50,000 for cancer research. He also walked 300 km in high-heeled shoes from Cold Lake to Edmonton, raising $10,000 for the YMCA.

Hargrove, who turns 26 this month, plans to run the entire length over a period of about 50 days, so he’ll run roughly 50 km per day.

He said he met Magnussen during the 2012 Grey Cup, when both of them were national finalists in the Scotiabank Game Changers program. Magnussen was picked as the top finalist and received $25,000 for her charity.

Later, he was invited to join her as her prom date, and he witnessed firsthand how she has devoted her life to helping others.

“I got to see how many people she’s affected in her life,” said Hargrove. “At the age of 18, she’s already accomplished so many things.”

A fan of DeGeneres, Magnussen had previously attempted to contact the show with no success, but Hargrove is hopeful that his run will attract the producers’ attention.

“She seems to be receptive to that kind of stuff,” said Pooley, while Hargrove said the story is “starting to spread like wildfire” online.

Hargrove is also getting a boost from local resident Cody Borek, who is helping to promote the run through social media.

“I heard about his story and it was just really inspiring,” said Borek. “It turns out we both like flashy shoes, so we got along pretty good.”

For more information on the run, or to sponsor Hargrove, check out his Facebook page at facebook.com/chargrove15 or call 780-813-0467. For more details on Angel Magnussen’s work, visit hugginzbyangel.com.

Correction

In the March 11 edition of the Stettler Independent, in the story headlined “Stettler shoe store sponsors…”, the amount of the reward Angel Magnussen was given was reported as $25,000. The actual figure is said to be $100,000. We regret the error.