Wanted: Surrey cyclists and supporters for mental health trek

Michael Schratter completes his 40,000-km 'Ride Don't Hide' fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

An epic 40,000-kilometre world-wide cycling journey culminates with community homecoming ride-along starting in Tsawwassen this weekend.

After cycling 40,000 kilometres across six continents and 32 countries to raise awareness for mental health issues, elementary school teacher and mental health advocate Michael Schratter will complete his world-wide trek on Saturday, Nov. 12 by cycling from Tsawwassen to downtown Vancouver. And everyone is invited to cycle with Schratter on a community homecoming ride-along for the final leg of his journey or greet him as he ends his inspirational global odyssey.

The community ride-along event with police escort starts at 8 a.m. at  the South Delta Recreation Centre, proceeding to the Richmond Oval at 10 a.m., Langara College in Vancouver at 11 a.m., and culminating with a  celebration at Rogers Arena when Schratter arrives at 11:45 a.m.

Schratter’s “Ride Don’t Hide” campaign had him cycling around the world since Aug. 1, 2010 to battle the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illness. One in five Canadians deal with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.

People with mental illness often suffer in silence rather than seek help or talk publicly about their condition which could have devastating consequences. The untimely deaths of several NHL athletes, including former Vancouver Canuck Rick Rypien, have underscored the importance of Schratter’s effort to bring mental illness into the light.

Mike Gillis, president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, will be among those welcoming Schratter at Rogers Arena at the end of his ride.

Schratter is trying to raise $100,000 for mental health programs for young people and he’s gone beyond the $60,000 mark.

The CMHA BC division is a charity which promotes the mental health of all British Columbians through community-based programs and services, public education, advocacy, and research. It is part of a network of more than 10,000 CMHA volunteers and staff in over 135 communities across Canada

CMHA BC Division is the sponsoring organization and facilitator for “Ride Don’t Hide” events to raise funds and awareness for CMHA projects.

To support the epic ride and learn more,  go to www.ridedonthide.com. All funds raised will stay in the community to support the Canadian Mental Health Association. Funds raised through online donations will be designated for the CMHA BC child and youth initiatives.

Anyone who would like to ride along with Schratter this weekend is asked to contact kim.findlay@cmha.bc.ca.

The Gate 3 doors of Rogers Arena will be open at 11 a.m. Nov. 12 and entry to Schratter’s homecoming is free. The Harry Neale Plaza in front of the arena will be a festive focal point with food vendors, health and wellness booths, music and draws for prizes.

For further details, please see www.ridedonthide.com.



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