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Ride Don’t Hide: Cycling event to raise money and awareness about mental health

May 16, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Zachary Roman

Caledon residents are invited to pedal for a good cause this June. 

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Peel Dufferin is now gearing up for its annual Ride Don’t Hide cycling event which takes place this June. 

Ride Don’t Hide started in 2010 thanks to the efforts of Vancouver-based teacher Michael Schratter. After experiencing stigma while living with bipolar disorder, he began a 40,000-kilometre ride around the world for mental health. 

“It occurred to me that, if approximately twenty percent — or one in five — Canadians experienced a mental health issue in a given year, then where are those seven million Canadians?” said Schratter. “Stigma stops when we, the twenty percent, reveal ourselves.  Mental illness is so common and so varied, it is nothing but an integral part of what it is to be human.”

This year, there will be an in-person ride on June 23 that starts at Caledon East Park. There will be five routes to choose from and after the ride there will be food and entertainment.

Residents are also invited to participate in an athletic event of their choosing, on their own time, between June 1 and 22 if they are unable to make it to the in-person event.

Through the ride, the CMHA Peel Dufferin is encouraging participants to fundraise and help it reach its $100,000 goal to support its programs like Outreach, HomeWorks, Recovery College, Client Wellness, and the Sweedian Robinson Scholarship. 

In addition to fundraising, CMHA Peel Dufferin encourages participants to use Ride Don’t Hide as a way to have conversations about mental health with others and share their journeys.

Shawna Bailey is CMHA Peel Dufferin’s fundraising and events officer. She said the non-profit wanted to make the event in-person and virtual this year so everyone has a chance to participate.

“I know that as a mom, I’m always looking for fun ways to get my kids moving and outdoors,” said Bailey. “Having the ride over the entire month of June is such a great opportunity to lace up our shoes as a family, take the dogs out for a walk, and continue the conversation with my son and daughter about mental health and what it means to them.”

Shahrukh Shah has been participating in Ride Don’t Hide for years and is a team captain. 

“I believe that the Ride provides a great opportunity for the community to come together,” said Shah. “It allows us to break down the stigma surrounding mental health while riding for those not able to ride on their own. Together, we make a difference.” 

Facility Plus is the lead sponsor of Ride Don’t Hide in Peel Dufferin, and Facility Plus manager of transformation and corporate strategy Alicia Levy said mental health affects everyone in some capacity.

“We ride to support our friends, family members, colleagues, and community members who are struggling with mental health,” said Levy.  “Our team of ‘Facility Plus Roadsters’ are proud to ride to spread awareness around mental health and garner support for such an important cause. No one should struggle with their mental health alone, and we hope that by participating in the ride that we are lending one more helping hand and one more voice to bring mental health into the open.”  

Facility Plus president David Levy said his team is honoured to be a part of Ride Don’t Hide.

“At events like Ride Don’t Hide, you truly see first-hand how a community comes together to support and form a movement towards bringing awareness to mental health,” he said. 

To learn more about the ride, register for it, or donate, those interested can visit www.ridedonthide.com/peeldufferin.


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