Cyclists gear up to support mental health

Ride don't Hide pulls in $20,000 for local programs and services

Thomas Wilkie

Thomas Wilkie

Sunday was a perfect day for a bike ride and 135 riders took advantage of the glorious sunny weather to support mental health and to raise awareness and funds for the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association that serves the South Okanagan Similkameen region.

The cyclists, including Mayor Garry Litke, pedalled through Penticton in support of the Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide.

Among the riders, there were teams from the Penticton RCMP detachment, Penticton Shoppers Drug Mart, The Y Team, Adventure Therapy, CPP Cycling, Dog Eared Book Club, Drew-Scotts, Everest and Beyond, JCI Penticton, St Dymphna, and Team Stokker.

“It’s great,” said a beaming Dennis Tottenham, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association branch in Penticton, of the number of cyclists who made their way to KVR Middle School for the start of the ride.

“Last year we had 45 riders.”

The increase in the number of riders translated into a larger sum of money collected, as more than $20,000 was raised this year compared to $14,000 last year.

The funds, explained Tottenham, stay in the community and help support a variety of services and programs to help people with depression and anxiety, nutrition programs, as well as recreation programs to keep individuals living with a mental illness active and well.

The annual event, first launched by Michael Schratter with a 40,000-kilometre ride around the globe, has as its main goal to end the stigma around mental illness. Each year, CMHA in British Columbia provides support and services to more than 82,000 British Columbians.

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