Clara Hughes is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater and has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports. She is one of a handful of people and the only Canadian to have won medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. Clara is also dedicated to advocating against the stigma that is often associated with mental health issues. Having battled her own depression, she has not only been open about her struggles but in engaging communities in a larger conversation about providing more support for mental health.
& right now she’s doing a Big Ride all the way around Canada! The launch was earlier this month in downtown Toronto and I was lucky enough to be able to attend it and raise the Right By You banner high in support of all things mental health.
It was really inspiring to hear Clara speak before she headed off. The cycling journey to all the provinces and territories of Canada will be several months long and promoting more awareness around mental health. I was happy to hear that she’s speaking at a lot of schools and youth organizations because I think it is so important for younger people to know that there needs to be more compassion and less stigma about ending the stigma of mental illness.
& there she goes! The event itself was lovely. I got to meet some of my fellow Toronto volunteers! There I am, hiding in the back left.
And here’s a photo that my fellow Toronto Community Correspondent Casey snapped of us at lunch.
Gatherings like this are so important because not only does it bring recognition to a great cause but it also makes you realize that you are not only in these struggles; it is something that many people deal with on a daily basis and the less silence there is, the better.
See when Clara is coming to your area here! She’s already covered a surprising amount of ground; what an athlete.