People battling with an addiction or mental health issues walk through life carrying extra weight. Addictions counsellor Ken Thompson has decided he is going to run a mile (or 5 kilometres to be exact) in their shoes.
“We (The Golden Local Action Team for Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use) were brainstorming ways to raise awareness about what the action team does, and we came up with this idea,” said Thompson. “So for every dollar donated I’m going to add 10 grams to my backpack, them I’m going to run the vertical kilometre up Kicking Horse with the Golden Ultra.”
Any money raised will help the action team offer activities and events to youth surrounding the issues of mental health and substance use. Currently the team, one of 64 around B.C., is being provincially funded, however that funding is expected to cease next year.
“The money is secondary though. We’re really trying to get the message across that addictions and mental health issues are a heavy burden to carry,” said Thompson. “It’s one of the only health issues in our society that still comes with such a stigma.”
The action team has been trying to get the message out to the community that information is always available.
“We’re trying to let people know that every door is the right door. If you have questions or need information, anywhere you go whether it’s the school, the clinic, whomever, they will be able to point you in the right direction and get you what you need,” said Helen Oosthoek, executive director of the Golden Family Centre, and action team member. “You don’t have to wonder where to go.”
So far Thompson and his team have raised $780, making his backpack 7.8 kilograms. The goal is to reach $2,000 and 20 kg, and they still have two and half more weeks to get there. If the group exceeds the goal, however, Thompson hasn’t decided how heavy they will let the backpack get.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he laughed.
Donations to the cause can be made at https://www.raceonline.ca/donate/?fg=b53ad23b-f492-42ed-96c3-e20c3359aec0.