Former NHL player Geoff Courtnall returns for his second Ride Don’t Hide this weekend.
Courtnall and his family funded the Archie Courtnall Centre in the Royal Jubilee Hospital back in 2011, named after a father who dealt with depression until his suicide in 1978. The centre was built to assist those with mental illnesses and addictions.
Courtnall says he tries to get involved in any way possible to raise awareness about mental health. When the CMHA approached him several years ago to participate in the Ride Don’t Hide event, he immediately took up the opportunity.
“I thought it’d be a great way to support. It’s all about raising awareness, and I think the more times it’s recommended or suggested that people support mental health issues, the more it cuts down on all the different things in our communities we’re fighting [to alleviate].” Courtnall points to the homeless situation in Victoria and those grappling with drug or alcohol abuse. Often, mental health services can reach the root of the problem and help those struggling get back on their feet.
Courtnall hopes to see the same number of cyclists as last year’s event on June 25. “It was just a great day. It was a beautiful ride and a sunny day.” A celebration will be held at Ogden Point after the ride, where a barbecue lunch will be provided to cyclists along with drinks, music, acknowledgements and prizes. The event will conclude at 1 p.m.
Cyclists of all ages and levels are invited to take part in Victoria’s annual Ride Don’t Hide event June 25. The event hopes to attract several hundred participants as it has previously, with 105 km, 51 km, 28 km, 18 km and 7 km legs.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are. There’s different distances and participation is appreciated,” Courtnall says.
This year, the Canadian Mental Health Association sends out an urgent call for volunteers. Program Manager for the CMHA Victoria office Jocelyn de Montmorency asks that any able to lend a hand on the day contact event coordinator Gwen Vonarx at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 216-4228.
View the event day schedule and register at ridedonthide.com.