North Sydney fun run renamed to honour Carmen Young's legacy
It has been more than a quarter century since Maritimers mourned the death of Carmen Young.
For a time, she was Nova Scotia’s darling. The Cape Breton girl became a nationwide face of organ donation after receiving a double lung transplant. Tragically, she passed away at the age of 15, but not before creating a legacy.
Her push for organ donation -- even during the worst of her illness – touched the hearts of people nationwide.
Now, a road race named in her honour in her home community is helping to ensure Carmen’s message isn’t forgotten.
A five-kilometre road race in her home of North Sydney is renewing Carmen Young's message more than 25 years later.
“It’s a gentle reminder of Carmen and the work she did with organ donation,” said her dad Brian Young. “She wanted to spread the word.”
The fun run has long been part of North Sydney's annual Bartown Days Festival, but this was the first year festival organizers decided to hold the event under Carmen’s name.
“Everyone had a great time and they think it’s something that should go on every year just to remember who she was,” said participant Taylor Dugas.“And how great she was to everybody in the community and what she did.”
Whether people would remember was a concern Carmen had before she died, says her mom.
“When she was sick, she'd say ‘everyone's going to forget me,’ and I'd say ‘no,’” said Nancy Young.
Indeed they haven't.
Her parents say the statistics speak volumes.
“In Nova Scotia today, we have the highest rate of organ donation in the country,” said Brian Young. “Nova Scotia is No. 1. That didn't happen by accident.”
Carmen Young’s memory is still well-entrenched in her hometown, but her parents say they jumped at the chance to take part in something new to help carry on her message, particularly, to the younger generation.
“This is continuing carmen's work, continuing her fight,” said Brian Young.
When tragedy struck the Young family again not long ago, Carmen's legacy came full circle.
“When we lost our son two years ago, very suddenly, he was an organ donor,” said Nancy Young.
Carmen Young’s legacy kept a lifesaving message alive through the people closest to her -- and complete strangers.
It's what Carmen would have wanted.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.