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Mel’s Story

What Keeps Me pedalling - The Story Through The Eyes of a Father
“Ride across Canada? What are you thinking?” That was the initial reaction from family and friends when I shared my plans for the spring and summer of 2009. I set this goal four years ago and have been building up my ride distances each summer to the point where I am now ready to do it. I have run marathons and climbed mountains. When I set a goal I do everything possible to achieve it. At age 60 I am as fit now as I ever was.

The real inspiration however, is my daughter Lindsay. She is the oldest of our four children and has schizophrenia. As a family we all agree that by dedicating the ride to Mental Health Awareness we can make a difference. By raising funds for community programs we can lend a hand to people who live with mental illness and depend on these supports.

For over ten years our family has been learning how to live with mental illness. At age 16 Lindsay was an excellent student, a talented artist, and a very good athlete. Her behaviours started to change but we believed it was normal teen age rebellion. By 17 Lindsay was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and had to learn to cope with the regimen of medications and all of their side effects. The diagnosis was changed to Schizoaffective Disorder at 18. She was not able to concentrate and ultimately had to leave the university she was attending. We struggled through many hospitalizations and personal and family crises. As parents we were devastated as we watched our daughter’s dreams slip away.

Lindsay hopes one day to be able to return to school and work while building long lasting relationships. Of course we hope these dreams will come true as well. We know there is recovery and that is how we stay optimistic.

However we realize that no one is immune from Mental Illness and when it hits, you are never prepared. We have also encountered other tests for the family. Anorexia is a serious issue for one of our other daughters who has required hospitalization, intensive treatment and counselling over the years.

The Ride for Mental Health is creating a source of optimism for us that is often hidden inside these difficult challenges. Whenever possible Lindsay will ride sections of the route with me, and my wife Carol will keep us on route and on time driving the support vehicle. We hope you will join us through a pledge of support to The Ride for Mental Health.

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