Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ottawa Event

July 27
We were so excited for today - a series of media appointments in the morning followed by a public event on the steps of Parliament Hill. It started early - Shawn Tallon set us up with an appearance on breakfast television at A Morning with Liane Liang followed by 580 CFRA Radio with Mark Sutcliffe. Mel and Lindsay also appeared on CBC News Today with Nancy Wilson. Threatening skies cleared up just in time for the outdoor interview at the Chateau Laurier. We appreciate all the opportunities to reach large numbers of people through the media with our message of awareness.

It seems the weather was just playing with us all day - sun then downpour then sun then more downpour. It didn't melt attendence or enthusiasm on the Hill. The Police Band marched in followed shortly by Mel and Lindsay on their bikes - quite a scene. Daniel, the Town Crier read off a proclamation about The Ride for Mental Health. Then the unbrellas went up. The rain didn't really bother anyone except maybe photographers Kaila and Kevin but they captured some super shots despite the wet conditions.

A huge cheque in the amount of $25,000 was presented by the committee from Xerox to the Sens Foundation in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation (the final amount raised at the event is expected to be in the range of $31,000.) The source of these funds was the SENSational Ride for Mental Health Event, a unique partnership between Xerox, lead by Shawn Tallon, and the Sens Foundation. Daniel Alfredsson, captain of the Ottawa Senators champions the "You Know Who I Am" awareness campaign for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, and the Senators loaned their Strength and Conditioning Facility for the unbelievably successfull stationary bike race.

Mel and Lindsay spoke to the assembled group and when Lindsay finished sharing her personal story several people came up and pressed cash donations in her hands. I had a chance to speak to the donors afterwards. One woman shared her son struggles with bipolar disorder. It has been difficult for the whole family. Too often people are quiet about the devastating effects of mental illness on not only the individual but family and friends.

We met Robert, an artist at Les Ateliers de l'Elan, who presented Lindsay with one of his paintings.

It was a special day.

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