I’m doing Ride Don’t Hide for the Canadian Mental Health Association again and this time I’m doing 50km.
TL;DR - On June 23, 2019, I’ll be back on my bike, riding for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s annual fundraising bike ride, Ride Don’t Hide. Today, I’m starting my donation campaign for this year and I’m counting on your help to support an issue so dear and personal to me.
If you don’t have the time to read on, here’s the deal: I’ll ride 50km, you help me donate at least $700. Like this post, share this post, and maybe donate! But I hope you have the time to read my story.
CW: suicide, mental illness
Last year, you helped me raise $650. And last year I was supposed to only ride 10km. I accidentally rode 36km… In the pouring rain… (HAHAHAHAHAHA FUNNY STORY ABOUT THAT…)
I did it for everyone who suffers from mental illness. I did it for everyone who lost their lives due to suicide. I did it for myself and my own lived experiences. And I thank every one of you for supporting me - donating money, sharing my story, liking my posts, cheering me on, praying for me.
I am usually more reserved about my experiences with mental illness. I never really wanted to share such a personal topic, or some of my darkest moments, on social media. I’m a natural introvert (some of you will be surprised) and it’s tough for me to talk about my feelings. I really believe that it’s in the quiet conversations where we need to support one another. I think the best support is just being committed to listening and learning.
But this is personal to me. I am a storyteller and I need to share my story. I’ve been at the bottom, sat in the darkness and wallowed in its waves. There are many times where I almost decided not to be here and let my demons take me. This year has been difficult for me: trying to find my place in the world, being discouraged by the job search, fighting my former employer on employment standards and Employment Insurance benefits, failures, rejection, and hospital visits.
And yet, I’m here. I’m alive. I’m humbled. I’m blessed. I struggle with it everyday and I will live with it everyday, but I thrive with that reality. I’ve learnt how to take care of myself and I have the support of my wonderful family and friends around me.
But there are many others that are not with us anymore. This year alone, there were four suicides on the UofT campus. I have lost friends and heroes and I miss them every single day. They were loving, warm, kind people who loved life and celebrated it fully. Losing them haunts me every day.
I am here. I am alive. I want to live life fully. And I am fighting back. I will do anything and everything that I can to help. I have this opportunity to do something and I want to do my part to help others who live with mental illness.
This year, I’m committing myself to being greater than I was last year. I will attempt to ride 50km in Peel Dufferin – Caledon Hills. And I need your help again to raise funds for Canadian Mental Health Association.
CMHA provides many valuable programs and services supporting youth, adults, and families in the region who struggle with mental illness and substance use/addiction. They do great work in bringing awareness to mental health and addressing the stigma around mental illness. And for me, I hope to help them one day with policy advocacy and lobbying the government for action.
I’m doing this for myself and my experiences with mental illness. I’m doing this for all of my friends who struggle with mental illness. And I’m doing this for everyone – especially a close friend – who are, unfortunately, no longer with us. Too many lives have been lost. It’s time to change things and I will do whatever I can.
Please help me and donate whatever you can! Don’t just do it for me: do it for yourself, for your friends, for your family. I’ve started by donating $10, so I hope you can match that or – if you’re extremely generous – donate more than that. And then, I’m asking you to please share my story and my fundraising page with others all over social media.
I raised $650 last year. Let’s beat that. I know we can do it. If I can bike 50km, you can help me reach my goal. This year, let’s reach $700. But I hope we can all beat that. I would be extremely humbled and grateful for any and all of your support. I truly appreciate it.
I’m going to keep bothering you. I’m going to post about this constantly. You might get annoyed. So I’m sorry in advance. But I hope you understand I’m doing this for a good reason and to try and do the best I can to raise as much as I can for this cause.
There’s a poem by Robert Frost that I love that has kept me going the last few years. It goes, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep / But I have promises to keep / And miles to go before I sleep / And miles to go before I sleep.” These words kept me alive, and it’s what inspires me to participate in this fundraiser.
Thank you for all of your help and I love you all!