Saturday, June 20, 2009

Winnipeg Event

June 22
It was an early morning scramble to get us all to the City TV studio in the Forks Market area on time. Lucky we had our trusty GPS.
Mel, Lindsay and interviewer Brian addressed the need to raise awareness about mental illness and the need to reduce stigma. The RV was also featured on camera as a vehicle to attract attention to our project. Lindsay and Mel are media stars. They handled the questions like pros.
Mid morning found us in the centre of the business district at the outdoor square at Canwest Place. Nick Allaire and his committee were taking care of last minute details for the event. Kerri Irvin-Ross, Minister of Healthy Living, arrived early and we had a chance to talk about the Ride and heard her views on mental health. When she took the stage she was elequent about people being able to speak openly about depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia without fear of stigma. I'm certain that having a Cabinet Minister such Ms Irvin-Ross' taking an active role today was a strong catalyst for the media to pick up on our message about mental health awareness.
Mel and Lindsay, media darlings that they are, spoke with interviewers from both CBC television and radio station CJOB. That left Caity and I to meet and mingle. The live music of Papa Mombo ensured that everyone was moving to their wonderful sound. We had the pleasure of meeting several individuals working with the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, Matthew and Johnathon. Johnathon gave us a gift from a porject he is working on. The gift was 3 candles for Light a Candle of Hope for Someone Your Care About Living With Mental Illness. "It's a project I'm working on." He is full of great ideas to bring attention to mental health issues.
Then we met Steve - one of the headliners on the day's program. Steve is a spokesperson for consumer survivors, and it is easy to see that he is a survivor. He spoke to the crowd and told a story of courage and strength and guts. He told his story and he didn't sugar coat it. He spoke eloquently and from the heart. Steve has seen some rough times, really hard times, but he is slowly changing that. One day at a time.

By the end of the day, after dropping Caitlin at the airport for her flight home, we were completely drained. We will sleep well tonight knowing that through the media opportunities and the event in downtown Winnipeg we touched many people with our message of awareness. Tomorrow we will be back on road early and headed toward Ontario.

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