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Strachan and Chloe with Blythe, Aimee-Noel and Wyatt

The genesis of The Make a Difference Marathon

Wyatt Hartley, Strachan's younger brother, explains the idea behind the SHLF Make a Difference Marathon:


"When Blythe made the decision that she was going to try to attend her third Olympics, I made the choice that as the only immediate family member who has never seen her compete at the Olympics I would attend.

It also occurred to me that this would be a great time to explore China. Through a friend, I had heard of a route starting in the mountains of Pakistan and ending in China which would make for an exceptional biking trip. I quickly identified this as possible adventure that I wanted to partake in.

Soon after, Strachan was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. It was a terrible shock to us, but there was a sense of optimism that a full recovery would be made.

It appeared in the winter/spring of 2006 that Strachan was responding positively to the treatment. However, that subsequent fall it was revealed to us that the cancer had been resistant to the treatment. Despite the set back, there continued to be confidence that Strachan would recover.

It was at this point when my vision for the bike came to be. My vision was that as a celebration of Strachan’s recovery, he and I would complete the ride along the route from Pakistan to China as a part of our trip to the Olympics. We complete the ride as fundraiser with all proceeds going to charity. It occurred to me later that the vision was probably my way of remaining optimistic by envisioning Strachan, ravaged by the effects of chemotherapy, living a strong and fruitful life after cancer.

Strachan unfortunately succumbed to the cancer and the trip as envisioned was not to be.   In it’s place a new vision arose. A foundation was to be established by the people who had been touched by Strachan that would honour his legacy with the goal of 'Making a Difference.' Taking the vision of the bike in China, the ‘Make a Difference Marathon’ was to be a keystone event in the foundations inception: a bike relay across Canada by Strachan’s friends and family that would carry his message to Canadians to give back and make a difference in the world.

I hope that Canadians from Halifax to Victoria will come out and support us in spreading Strachan’s message."



A unique opportunity to make dreams come true

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games present a unique opportunity for SHLF to reach out to Canadians and challenge them to get involved in making a difference. Strachan’s youngest sister Blythe Hartley aims to return for her third Olympics as one of Canada’s only returning medalists and most celebrated athletes.

Blythe and the Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation will be celebrating sports and the opportunities they create in people’s lives through the Make a Difference Marathon – a 13 day bike across Canada. A group of family and friends will be riding from Halifax , Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia in 13 days with arrival scheduled at the Canadian Olympic Diving Trials in Victoria, June 21st, 2008. SHLF chapters in nine cities across Canada will support the ride with ground events and celebrations as the team rides from coast to coast.

The overall goal of the bike ride is to honour Strachan Hartley’s legacy through an epic journey, create awareness of our cause and raise significant funds for the Foundation. We believe that the compelling story of the Make a Difference Marathon combined with Blythe Hartley’s Olympic pursuits will draw significant media attention and community participation.