7th Heidi Ferguson Memorial Walk at Island Lake on Sunday

September 24, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Nine years after the domestic dispute that claimed the life of Heidi Ferguson, Family Transition Place (FTP) is preparing to honour her memory through the seventh annual Ferguson Memorial Walk.

Taking place this Sunday (Sept. 23) at Island Lake Conservation Area, the Walk has long served as one of the local non-profit organization’s flagship events to raise awareness and funds in support of educational programs that help eliminate domestic violence. Partnering with FTP on the event, Ms. Ferguson’s parents, Gus and Penny Bogner, have spearheaded a movement that has raised more than $100,000 for the Orangeville-based shelter.

Heidi Ferguson died on Sept. 12, 2009 after being shot by her estranged husband, Hugh, at the Orangeville home she shared with their children. She was shot three times in the chest by Hugh, who later committed suicide. The incident occurred shortly after Heidi filed for divorce.

Looking back on the heart-breaking incident, Penny Bogner said she wanted to ensure Heidi’s spirit lived on in the community.

“Our daughter, Heidi Lee Ferguson, lost her life during a domestic dispute, and we wanted something good to come from it,” said Ms. Bogner.

Gus Bogner continued, “We started this thing six years ago and it has been really successful. We want to do whatever we can to help end violence against women.”

Founded in 1984, Family Transition Place offers a safe place to women and children who have experienced abuse and unhealthy relationships. It currently offers services in five program areas – its emergency shelter, second stage housing, transitional support services, counselling and youth & community education.

While the organization is pleased with the headway it is making in local schools through its youth education programs, demand for FTP services across Dufferin County and Caledon remains. Between April 1, 2017 and April 1, 2018 FTP has housed 82 women and 47 children at its emergency shelter, and provided second stage housing to 14 women and 12 children. These numbers are down from the previous year, but there is still much work to be done to end the cycle of violence against women, says FTP Executive Director Norah Kennedy.

Looking ahead to this weekend, Penny Bogner believes her daughter would be proud of the work that has been done over the past six years. With four fundraising days remaining, volunteers and participants have so far raised $11,975 of the initial $20,000 goal.

“Heidi would be pleased,” Ms. Bogner said. “The walk is called the Ferguson Memorial Walk and we raise money for Family Transition place. Come out and join us this weekend – we have fun!”

She added, “Together we can make difference, that’s what we’re hoping to do.”

Registration ($20) will take place at Island Lake from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday and the walk will commence at 11.

For more information on Family Transition Place and the Ferguson Memorial Walk, visit

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