A Port Hope Father’s Walk in Honour of What Would Have Been His Daughter’s 30th Birthday

In Editor Choice, Local, Upcoming Events

The father of a woman that died under suspicious circumstances is walking to raise awareness and funds for mental health on what would have been her 30th birthday.

Mark and Lori Chard spoke about the death of their daughter Madison who went missing on April 19, 2022 in Port Hope.

Without going into detail, Mark believes foul play was involved in the death of his daughter who had been missing exactly a month before being found in the woods along the Ganaraska River south of Molson Street.

But he freely admits Madi suffered from mental illness and addiction and that’s why all funds raised are going towards Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health.

“She really got a lot of benefit going to Ontario Shores during her tough times,” said Mark.

On Saturday, April 15, 2023 starting at 8 a.m., Mark will be attempting to do 30 lengths of the Waterfront Trail on Lake Street by Hope Street South in honour of what would have been his daughter’s 30th birthday.

Each way is approximately one kilometre so the total length of what Mark will be walking is approximately 30 kilometres.

Mark freely admits he’s never walked nearly as far as what he plans to do on Saturday, but will do his best.

“It’s alright, Madi wouldn’t care,” said Lori with a smile.

“I’m prepared that if I can’t do it one day, I’ll go back the next and finish it.”

The area has special significance as her father states it was Madi’s “go to place.”

“When she wanted to meditate or getaway she always wanted to go to the waterfront.”

He understands if people want to walk with him, and it’s a public trail, but he’d appreciate it if people could support by donating or just spreading the word about mental health and addiction.

A Memorial Walk was held after Madi’s death last year along the same trail with the community taking.

Chard said there is no goal with funds raised.

“Anything’s good. I realize there are so many other worthwhile fundraising going on with different needs so people only have so much to give. And if all they can afford is two bucks, then two bucks is great.”

While Mark is walking, his wife Lori and son Teigan will be manning a booth to hand out literature and take donations.

Just before her death, Madi received her degree for Criminal Psychology from Durham College.

Eventually she wanted to do counselling and eventually get a job with Ontario Shores because they were so helpful.

“If people can’t donate, that’s ok too,” said Lori.

“It’s about raising awareness as well,” says Mark.

“Part of our focus on mental health – I’m sure there are certain circumstances where people might have become addicts for another reason, but the root of most problems is some sort of mental health. A root cause of mental illness in most addictions – so if we can get more people help, then maybe that will nip it in the bud and help control the addiction problems.”

Both parents said they are so grateful for the community support since Madi went missing and throughout the year.

“We keep saying nothing will bring her back, but we want good things to come out of a horrible situation. So if we can raise some money in her honour to help someone, at least that will carry on.

We don’t want people to forget about her and at least talk about mental health.”

For anyone who wishes to donate www.ontarioshores.ca/dads-walk-madisons-birthday.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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