Naomi Cermak legacy will continue to inspire through memorial scholarship

“My sister battled her cancer for 13 months and one day from the date of her diagnosis. She never had the chance to participate in her last triathlon. Today, I’m doing it because she couldn’t.”Carly Cermak spoke those words after completing a triathlon to honour of her late sister Naomi on Thursday, July 21 at Brock University.More than 70 participants, from all over Ontario, were involved in the inaugural Naomi Cermak Tri to Inspire.“Our goal for this event was to honour the memory of Naomi and to begin raising funds for a Graduate Student Scholarship in her name,” says Department of Kinesiology Chair Brian Roy.The event raised $13,100 through the combination of a generous $10,000 donation from the Cermak family, money raised through the triathlon registration and support from the community of people who knew and loved Naomi.To be able to see the kind of legacy Naomi has inspired, and to know that future students who share her passion for learning will benefit from this event is really special.“The funds raised will provide a solid foundation to ensure the longevity of the Naomi Cermak Graduate Student Memorial Scholarship. With matching dollars available through the Ontario Graduate Fellowship Program (OGFP), we are fortunate to say we have been able to establish an endowed fund to support this award, one that will continue to grow with annual donations and from funds raised at the Tri to Inspire event,” says Roy.For all involved, this event was more than just raising funds for a scholarship fund, it was about recognizing an accomplished young woman whose life ended far too early.“After the race, while Carly Cermak was addressing the participants and supporters, it was easy to appreciate that everybody in attendance was impacting somebody’s life through their involvement and contributions,” says Athletics and Recreation Fitness Manager Eric Walter.“To be able to see the kind of legacy Naomi has inspired, and to know that future students who share her passion for learning will benefit from this event is really special,” says Walter.In total, the event saw more than 120 people come out to show their support.“By having people here and learning about my sister, a ripple effect is created. The more people who learn about Naomi and her accomplishments, as an athlete and a researcher, will hopefully inspire others to achieve as well,” says Carly.The Cermak family were appreciative of the participants, organizers, volunteers and supporters who came out and helped make the event a huge success.“I am overwhelmed, as you can imagine, today has made me both happy and sad,” says Naomi’s mother Tineke Cermak.Jacob Campbell came in first place in the 150m at 32:18 and Kevin Turner earned the top spot in the 400m finishing at 35:33.To make a contribution to the scholarship visit brocku.ca/donate and select Naomi Cermak Graduate Student Scholarship on the gift designation drop down menu. Every dollar donated will be matched through the Ontario Graduate Fellowship Program (OGFP).

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