A sea of cyclists will be off and riding from the Mooretown Sports Complex this month as the fourth annual Ride Don’t Hide event aims to raise $50,000, all in the name of mental health.
“The goal is that everybody is riding together for the same cause on the same day, right across the country,” said Angela Kirkland, fund and communications development coordinator at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Lambton-Kent.
The agency is hoping to draw 400 riders for its only local fundraiser, now in its fourth year.
“The main thing is to reduce the stigma,” said Kirkland. “And it’s a great opportunity for people and families who have had their own life experiences, to come out to an event where they can safely speak out about mental illness and share their stories with others.
“It’s a great conversation starter.”
The June 25 event is open to all ages and abilities. It includes 8km, 20km and 50km routes, in addition to an 80km, new this year, for experienced cyclists. T-shirts, swag bags, breakfast and a barbecue lunch are included.
In its first three years, more than $110,000 has been raised locally and all proceeds go directly to local mental health initiatives.
They include the BeSafe mobile app — purchased in partnership with the St. Clair Catholic and Lambton Kent school boards, to support teens and young adults making decisions in crisis; SafeTalk, an alertness workshop that prepares anyone over age 15 to become a suicide-alert helper; and new this year, the Mental Health Champion Award.
“I think we are definitely creating that awareness,” said Kirkland. “People are becoming more aware of our organization and services and where they can go for help.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Ride Don’t Hide for CMHA Lambton-Kent
WHEN: June 25, 8 a.m. start time
WHERE: Moore Sports Complex, 1166 Emily St., Mooretown