Clara Hughes, the six-time Olympian will ride her bike coast to coast across Canada to talk about mental health with schools and community organizations.
“Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk” will start Friday, March 14, in Toronto, and end in Ottawa on Canada Day, July 1st. She will cover more than 12,000 kilometres over more than 100 days.
Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, the 40 year-old is a two-time Olympic bronze medallist in cycling. The only Canadian athlete to win medals in both summer and winter games, she brought home four Olympic medals in long-track speedskating — a gold, silver and two-bronze — over three Winter Olympics.
Despite the victories, Hughes battled depression during her competitive career. Now she is the national ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk, a campaign launched in 2010 to help lift the stigma around mental illness.
Bell is one of the largest and oldest telecommunication companies in Canada. The annual ‘Bell Let’s Talk Day’ is the occasion on which the company donates five cents to mental health for every text and long-distance call by Bell and Bell Aliant and every Let’s Talk tweet and Facebook share.
Canadians sent over 96 million messages, amounting to an addition $4.8 million in funding for mental health this year. Now Clara Hughes will continue the conversation in person, in all of the places she visits.
The weather will be one major challenge; Toronto is bracing for another snow storm tomorrow, March 12th. They should have the roads cleared by the time Clara Hughes sets out.