It’s a momentous sign that Kelowna is coming together as a mentally healthy community, one rider at a time. Approximately 500 people came out to ride and $130,000 has been raised, with more coming in, for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ride Don’t Hide, which took place in Kelowna June 24th – record numbers for the event.
Locally called The Payton & Dillon Budd Memorial Ride, in memory of two brothers who lost their lives, the ride was billed as a rallying point for people to come together and get loud about mental health and suicide prevention. It’s a sentiment that resonated with the community. “All of us, CMHA Kelowna staff and volunteers, we are all overwhelmed by the response to this event,” says Shelagh Turner, CMHA Kelowna’s Executive Director. “It sends an important message that says to anyone who is having mental health issues or thoughts of suicide – you do not have to hide, you do not have to stay silent. As a community, you are not alone and we are there for you.”
It was an emotional start to the event as riders, many with their own stories of how mental illness has impacted themselves, loved ones or colleagues, gathered to hear Tom Budd’s story. Budd spoke about his personal connection to the cause then wrapped up his speech with an inspiring message for the group, “Today we ride in victory, today we bring more awareness to mental health.” The Thomas Alan Budd Foundation is title sponsor for the event and, in a significant show of support for CMHA’s 100th anniversary, matched $100 in fundraising for each rider who signed up under Budd’s 100.
The ride featured a 6.5 KM, 20 KM and 60KM route which start and ended at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Sponsors for the event included JDS Mining, Kelowna Cycle, Fresh Air, Cyclepath, ChainLine Cycle, innov8 Digital Solutions, and DKL Financial Services.
Money raised for the event will stay locally, going to CMHA Kelowna programs and services that help people of all ages access the help and support they need to live their best lives. The date for next year’s ride is June 23, 2019.