Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day

July 1

In Thunder Bay, as in many towns and cities today, it was Parade Day and we were riding in the Canada Day Parade. The gray and overcast skies gave way to the sun finally. We were joined by about a dozen members from the New Foundations Clubhouse walking and riding as we made our way down to the waterfront. There were no elephants and luckily we were in front of the horses. What a fun experience - I may have developed tendonitis in my waving hand though. Talk about great exposure - the RV was a hit with all the red maple leaves emblazoned on the white background. Great work on the design and wrap by Twist and Pareto.

Dave Grady, the Xerox agent at Thunder Bay Xerographix,Inc worked closely with Ken Gravelle a Xerox retiree and Adriana Foresto of the CMHA to have The Ride for Mental Health featured in the parade. They also organized a draw for a Specialized Mountain Bike. Didja get a ticket? You could already be a winner. Draw is not til tomorrow.

Have I mentioned all the new friends we have made on this amazing journey? Today was a day of old friends meeting new friends. Old friends and by that I mean long time friends - none of us are old - Sharon and Ken hosted a small luncheon before the parade. It was relaxing to catch up them and to get to know our new friends a little better. And we came away with Persians. What could be better?

I had the pleasure of a long conversation with Helen a mental health advocate. She is a real pioneer. Twenty five years ago she and her husband started the local chapter of the Schizophrenia Society and she is still active today. Schizophrenia is the least talked about mental illness with the most stigma, most misrepresentation and least acceptance. I asked her what she thought was the greatest need. Her reply " I guess you have to have a diagnosis." So that would mean more doctors are needed to make the diagnosis then early intervention programs would have a chance to make a difference.

Good friend and fellow adventurer, Al Varney, flew in to join Mel for a few days on The Ride and to help him tackle the tough hills of the north shore. As Al got his gear into the taxi the driver noticed his bike helmet hanging off the bag. "What brings you to Thunder Bay?" he asked. Al replied he was joining a friend who was cycling across Canada. The cabbie said "He's not the one doing it for mental health is he? I heard about him on the radio."

Tomorow we resume The Ride from the Terry Fox Monument. It will be both motivating and moving. After that it's on to the hills of the north shore. I understand cell coverage may be a bit spotty for a few days so we'll check in when we can.

1 comment:

  1. Good Luck Mel and Al!! I am sure that the next few days will be challenging and rewarding. It seems your efforts to create awareness are working. Hope the weather improves
    Mark and Laurie Hopkinson