Strength in 2 Fitness owner-operator Stacy McDougall enjoys a cuddle with a giant bear collected as part of the Colwood gym’s recent toy drive. More than 100 items were collected

Strength in 2 Fitness owner-operator Stacy McDougall enjoys a cuddle with a giant bear collected as part of the Colwood gym’s recent toy drive. More than 100 items were collected

Friend’s legacy of giving continues with toy drive in Colwood

Colwood gym members help West Shore children in need

Usually Stacy McDougall spends her time motivating and giving her clients the tools they need to reach their fitness goals.

But her passion for helping others extends beyond the limits of her business, Strength in 2 Fitness in Colwood, and often draws in all of its members.

After losing dear friend Bud Rutherford suddenly in September, McDougall wanted to do something special to honour him at Christmas. She rallied the entire community at her gym and chose to carry on his legacy with the CFAX Santas Anonymous Society, where he would have been in his 20th year volunteering.

In conjunction with the Society, they collected and donated 100 toys in just two weeks.

“I don’t think 100 of us could have replaced him,” she said. “He was a huge factor in Santas Anonymous.”

Since Rutherford was a teacher and principal on the West Shore for a number of years, the group also wanted to help the local community. Organizers at Santas Anonymous went the extra mile to make that happen – the 100 bear cards with toy requests that the group was given all came from West Shore children.

“That was really cool,” McDougall said.

It was also a family affair for members of Strength in 2 Fitness, she said. “A lot of the families brought their own kids into the gym to pick their own (bear cards).”

And as a mother of two young children, she wanted to help teach the next generation the importance of helping others in the community. Although, she did make them do burpees before selecting their cards.

“In the first night we already had 50 picked up. We had such an amazing response. I’m so proud of the Strength in 2 Fitness community.”

She added she couldn’t have done it without the help of her staff, clients and the Rutherford family.

“Our goal is to do it every year now … Every year we’ll try to do a little bit better,” McDougall said.

This year did present some difficulties, however. Due to technical problems, the group didn’t receive their bears until two weeks before the deadline, putting them on an accelerated timeline. There were also some unheard of or very specific requests that had members scratching their heads as to what they were or where to find them.

“The last 10 presents were the hardest. We couldn’t find them anywhere,” she said. But in the end, they managed to track down every gift.

For more information go to strengthin2fitness.com.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com