Courtesy Clara's Big Ride/Bell Website

Courtesy Clara’s Big Ride/Bell Website

This post was prompted by yet another high profile suicide this week.  I have always admired Clara Hughes as a tremendous athlete & my admiration was enhanced once she joined Bell Let’s Talk program to help fight the stigma against mental illness.

Clara Hughes is a six-time Canadian Olympic speed-skating and cycling medallist and the national spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk. Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk is a 110-day national bicycle tour through every province and territory, beginning in Toronto on March 14, 2014 and concluding in Ottawa on July 1, 2014. As part of Clara’s Big Ride, Clara Hughes will cover 12,000 km and visit 95 communities along the way. Clara’s Big Ride will help grow awareness, acceptance, and action to create a stigma-free Canada.

Clara’s Big Ride is reaching into communities large and small in every province and territory, to encourage all Canadians to be part of the conversation about mental health and help end the stigma around mental illness.

Clara will share her personal experience with mental health issues with youth at schools and community organizations across Canada. The goal? To empower youth to understand what mental health means to them and how they can support others who may be suffering. Our hope is that the next generation of Canadians will grow up in a society where there is no stigma associated with mental illness.

Community events will create meaningful opportunities for community building or fundraising in support of local mental health initiatives. Bell and other leading Canadian corporations are covering all costs for Clara’s Big Ride. Every dollar raised will stay in the community to benefit local mental health programs.

From Clara’s Big Ride FAQ page:

Q. Why did you choose youth as your focal age group for your school and youth events?
A. We decided to predominantly talk to junior and senior aged high school students because we think this age will be receptive to the Bell Let’s Talk message and given the right tools, they will be able to change the way Canadians talk about mental illness in the future. By engaging youth in every community, our hope is that the next generation of Canadians will grow up in a society where there is no stigma around mental illness.

Q. What makes this ride different from all the other past cross-Canada journeys? E.g. Terry Fox, Rick Hansen
A. In this case, Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk is not so much the physical undertaking, or the number of kilometres Clara rides, but the number of Canadians and communities we inspire to help end the stigma around mental illness.

If you would like to know more about Clara’s Big Ride, please go to the website:  http://clarasbigride.bell.ca/en/

*All information is taken from the Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk webpage, including the photo.

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