Nearly 2,200 cyclists in 13 communities across B.C. came together to help the Canadian Mental Health Association surpass its $400,000 fundraising goal in its first ever province-wide Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide event.
In Williams Lake organizers said by all accounts the first ever Ride Don’t Hide was a success.
The money raised from this year’s ride will go toward programs to support mental health for women and families, including the creation of a new “Enjoy Your Baby” program; a course that helps new mothers cope with the stress and anxiety that can follow childbirth.
The event was held on Sunday, June 23 across B.C., as well as in York Region — an area north of Toronto, Ont. In Williams Lake, 34 cyclists participated in the community ride, raising nearly $3,000.
“I would like to thank everyone — especially our event sponsor Shoppers Drug Mart — for making the first Ride Don’t Hide event such a tremendous success,” said CMHA Cariboo Chilcotin branch executive director Trevor Barnes.
“It was truly inspiring to see so many people come out to support their family members, friends, co-workers, neighbours – anyone living with mental illness.”
For CMHA BC CEO Bev Gutray, the event demonstrates the positive shift in how Canadians view mental illness and those living with mental health issues.
“I’m proud to see that the Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide has been so well received and is helping people become even more comfortable openly discussing mental illness,” Gutray said.
“Next year we hope to substantially increase the number of participating communities as we look to eventually make this a national event.”
Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide was inspired by Vancouver school teacher Michael Schratter, who cycled 40,000 kilometres around the world through 33 countries to battle mental illness stigma. Shoppers Drug Mart heard about Schratter’s journey and committed to becoming a sponsor in B.C.
CMHA is still accepting donations online at www.ridedonthide.com or through the CMHACC branch. Call 1-800-555-8222 for more information.