TRU students band together to make an impact on the community

Students hope to surpass last year’s donations for the Boys and Girls Club Power Start Program

Last year, Comazzetto saw great growth in the annual fun run. (Submitted)

Kamloops is set to come together, one ugly sweater at a time with the third annual Brennan’s Ugly Sweater Run. Event founder and TRU Interdisciplinary student Payton Comazzetto shares her passion for the event in memory of her late brother Brennan.

“We’re just trying to boost people’s mental health at the beginning of the holiday season and also try and give back to the community as well,” Comazzetto said.

Brennan’s Ugly Sweater Run has been a passion project for Comazzetto dedicated to her brother Brennan who was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1999. Brennan’s favourite holiday had always been Christmas and many of the best memories Comazzetto held of her brother centred around Christmas, making the holiday season the best setting for her memorial event.

“His favourite holiday was Christmas and that was something that he and I really valued and loved. All my best memories of him are from that time of year,” Comazzetto said.

In 2017, while studying psychology, Comazzetto found in her research into mental health that many people who have experienced mental illness saw a significant decline in mental health during the winter holiday season. This pushed Comazzetto to begin this event in hopes of getting people out and enjoying the scenery around them.

Brennan’s Ugly Sweater Run started as a project for Comazzetto’s Service Learning class; a credit that allows students to become involved in their community while also earning credits towards their degree program.

During her own research last year, Comazzetto found that people experienced a mental health improvement while exercising in nature as opposed to urban environments; thus validating the beautiful scenery of the route along the West Highlands Community Centre overlooking Kamloops.

For the third year, 100 per cent of donations raised will be sent directly to the Kamloops Boys and Girls Club Power Start Program in an effort to provide underprivileged school-aged children with a nutritious breakfast to start their day right.

Last year, the Ugly Sweater Run nearly tripled their 2017 attendance and double their organic donations from the previous year.

Comazzetto states that for their 2019 goal they hope to be able to feed 50 Kamloops students for a year. To reach this goal, Brennan’s Ugly Sweater Run will have to bring in $12,500 in donations.

Comazzetto hopes that by providing this support in her community, her team will be able to reduce the trauma hunger causes for students as they grow and learn.

For the first time in the history of Brennan’s Ugly Sweater Run, Comazzetto has been able to assemble a team to make 2019’s run bigger and better than ever. Comazzetto is joined by five other TRU students from varying disciplines.

This year’s event is set to be the best yet as the run grows each year. The route will be completely decorated making for the best holiday fun run as cheerful holiday music floods the route. To top it off, runners can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider to keep the cheer going.

Runners are encouraged to come dressed in their ugliest Christmas sweater or holiday costume. Prizes for the best sweater and costume will be up for grabs on the day of the run.

It’s not too late for runners to register. Pre-registration will be open until Nov. 30 at and TRU students can register to run with the AdventureU club on campus. Comazzetto will also be holding a Registration night at Runner’s Sole on Nov. 22.

All registrees registered before Nov. 30 will be entered to win a slew of door prizes donated from the community.

To register you just need the means to move your body and a minimum of a $20 donation (per individual) or $10 for TRU students.