this morning i went to michael schratter’s sendoff on his year-long ride don’t hide bicycle tour around the world to create awareness about mental health.
let’s just stop here for a moment and picture this.
and then let’s put a finger on how long this is.
as far as i know this is the first-ever attempt to bring something of this duration and magnitude to raise awareness about mental health. of course, last year, there was mel thompson, who successfully rode across canada for mental health. and now michael takes it a few steps – spokes? – further. i am very, very honoured and excited to be witness to this.
as many of you know, michael was one of the speakers at the vancouver mental health camp this year, and i found him very inspiring as he tlkaed about his dream to change the world and about his experience with having bipolar disorder. one of the things that keeps coming back to me is the fact that he is a teacher and that his students are among his most avid supporters. when we were at mental health camp, airdrie made the very, very poignant point at the end of the conference that we are doing this for the children. we are speaking out and speaking up for mental health so that our children don’t have to hide, so that they don’t have to pretend they’re sick with a cold when they can’t face going to school with a depression, so that they can confidently talk to their peers and teachers when going on a field trip brings up their anxiety.
the kids at michael’s school will not forget this. it’s really neat to see all their comments about him on facebook and his blog. after meeting michael’s school’s principal this morning, i am confident that she will do everything to keep them abreast of what’s going on and to involve them in the adventure as much as possible.
here are a few pictures from the sendoff.
michael in front of the olympic clock. hour zero.
last moments with his girlfriend
… and he’s off!