Vernon, BC – After cycling solo around the world over the last 438 days, crossing six continents and 30 countries and clocking more than 36,000 km, mental health crusader and elementary school teacher Michael Schratter triumphantly returned to BC on the final leg of his epic “Ride Don’t Hide” journey and is scheduled to arrive in his hometown of Vernon, BC on Thursday, October 13. A community ride-along and BBQ celebration event are planned in Vernon on Thursday afternoon.
Originally from Vernon, Michael has been cycling around the world to battle the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illness for the one in five Canadians who personally 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, many of whom battled depression, has underscored the importance of Michael’s effort to bring mental illness into the light.
“After more than a year of cycling around the world, I’m absolutely thrilled to be back in my home province of British Columbia, “said Schratter, who has raised more than $46,000 towards his fundraising goal of $100,000 to support youth mental health programs. “I’m hopeful that British Columbians will really step up to the plate by contributing to the Ride Don’t Hide campaign so we can all make a real difference in the lives of people living with mental illness,” said Schratter.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) BC Division is calling on all Canadians to support Michael on his journey home by riding along with him or by donating to the cause. All funds raised locally through events will stay in the community to support the local CMHA Branch. Funds raised through online donations will be designated for the CMHA BC Division child and youth initiatives. Online donations are accepted at www.ridedonthide.com.
“Mental illness can affect anyone at any time and affects one in five Canadians, which means every single family in Canada will in some way be affected,” says Bev Gutray, Chief Executive Officer of the CMHA BC Division. “Yet there is a reluctance to talk about mental illness. Michael’s crusade to raise awareness about this social stigma will no doubt help many Canadians and inspire many to make a difference.”
Vernon “Ride Don’t Hide” events details:
What: Community Ride-Along with Michael Schratter
When: Thursday, October 13 at 4 pm (ride-along group will be escorted by the police to the CMHA Vernon office)
Where: Okanagan College Vernon Campus, 7000 College Way at the Upper Parking Lot
What: CMHA Vernon Branch Celebration Event for Michael Schratter
When: Thursday, October 13 at 5 pm
Where: CMHA Vernon branch office, 3100 28th Avenue, Vernon
Who: Michael Schratter, mental health crusader, Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert, Cliff Cross, Program Director Mental Health/Addictions, Interior Health Authority, Betty Bates, Board Vice President, CMHA Vernon
A Vancouver school teacher, Michael began his “Ride Don’t Hide” campaign on August 1, 2010 with the goal of cycling 40,000 km around the globe, and raising funds for mental illness. All he had was a bike, a knapsack and a determination to live out a dream to create awareness and help empower people dealing with mental health challenges. He started out in Vancouver, rode down through the west coast of the United States, Mexico and South America, flew over to the east coast of Australia and cycled up through Asia and then hopped over to Europe. He did all of this by taking a year away from his job as a grade five teacher and funding his own expenses as he travelled the globe. Michael is on the final leg of his 10,000 km Canadian home stretch after setting out from Halifax on August 16. After riding across the country, Michael is currently cycling through the Canadian Rockies as he makes his way to Vancouver for his November 12 homecoming marking the end of his “Ride Don’t Hide” journey. Read Michael’s blog and learn more about the amazing “Ride Don’t Hide” expedition at www.ridedonthide.com.
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 local CMHA projects. www.cmha.bc.ca.
Martin Livingston, BreakThrough Communications Inc., 604-657-8234, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yvonne Chiang, BreakThrough Communications Inc., 604-880-5090, email@example.com