A Kelowna family is lending their voice to an annual mental health ride to honour their daughter’s wish to open up the conversation around depression and anxiety.
The McAlpine family lost their daughter Georgia to suicide just before her 19th birthday.
“Her wish was that as a family we tell the truth about why she died,” says Cam McAlpine, Georgia’s dad. “She wanted us to talk about it so no one else would feel that taking their life is the only option.”
That’s why Cam and Jenny McAlpine are joining CMHA Kelowna’s The Payton & Dillon Budd Memorial Ride as ambassadors for the 2019 event, according to CMHA’s news release. “We want to share Georgia’s story. We want to share her struggles, and our own struggles, with those who may be going through the same thing.”
The annual ride is a national event that encourages Canadians to come together to Ride Don’t Hide, bring mental health into the light and encourage people to talk. In Kelowna, the ride is named after two local brothers who died by suicide.
CMHA Kelowna executive director Shelagh Turner says as a community we have to keep the conversation going. “We have to talk about all aspects of this – mental health, mental illness, suicide – so that people don’t feel alone and aren’t afraid to say ‘I need help’ or ask ‘Do you need help?’”
The 2018 ride saw 500 riders, many with their own personal stories, raise $140,000 for CMHA Kelowna programs and services that help people of all ages live their best lives, the release said.
This year’s event takes place June 23 at the ball diamond beside the Kelowna Curling Club. Registration is now open and anyone who wants to take part will have the option of walking 4 kilometres or 6 km or riding 6km, 25km or 50km. Anyone who joins Budd’s 100 and agrees to raise a minimum of $100 will have their $40 registration fee automatically waived and their $100 in fundraising will be matched. BNA Brewing Co. is also sponsoring the group with an additional $25. That’s $125 in matching funds for anyone you joins Budd’s 100, the release said.
For Cam and Jenny McAlpine, the emotional and community support the event provides is just as important as the fundraising.
“None of us are perfect. We are all doing the best we can and so when we come together like this and be there for each other, it is really meaningful,” they say.
To register for The Payton & Dillon Budd Memorial Ride go to www.ridedonthide.com/kelowna