On Monday, May 13, Mission will become the second stop by a couple riding their bicycles across the country to raise funds and awareness for mental health.
After their teenaged son gave up his life to depression in 2001, Ginny and Kerry Dennehy created a foundation in his name. Since then, they have raised over $5 million, financing a new mental health facility at the B.C. Children’s Hospital, establishing a chair in depression research at the University of British Columbia, and supporting suicide prevention programming at the B.C. Crisis Centre.
“We’re trying to change society’s viewpoints on stigma and mental health. If we do that, more and more people that suffer from depression and mental illness will come forward, and be accepted in society,” said Kerry.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadian youth, and depression is forecast to be the second leading cause of disability by 2020.
Too often, people suffering from mental illness feel that others don’t understand, and don’t care, Kerry explained. The Dennehys promote that people can be whole, happy, and lead productive lives. They can relate to other people, and fit in society.
Much of the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation’s past fundraising came from high-profile golf tournaments in Whistler. The Dennehys are now embarking on a new strategy.
Starting in their hometown of Whistler on May 12, the veterans of two GranFondos will cycle 8,000 km to Cape Spear, Newfoundland, by August.
“We feel very energized, and very excited about it,” said Kerry. “We’re so much looking forward to discovering our country.”
Their second day on the road, May 13, will land them in Mission where they will hold a rally at the Mission Leisure Centre and speak about their personal experience. Centennial Place is partnering on the Enough is Enough celebratory rally.
The Dennehys have committed to keep all donations within the province where they were received. They are putting their solid marketing knowledge to broadcasting their message and event widely, and will have a daily blog on their website.
“We’re going to make this ride a big deal,” said Kerry.