As a Vernon Photographer I am always honoured when I get a special request for photography from a local charity. When the CMHA, Canadian Mental Health Association, approached me to photograph it’s important fund raiser, “Ride Don’t Hide”, I didn’t hesitate. Knowing the importance of such an important message and fundraiser, I was so encouraged and moved by the outpouring of support our community showed for this important event.
Ride Don’t Hide started in 2010 after Michael Schratter, a Vancouver teacher who had experienced stigma while living with bipolar disorder, embarked on a 40,000 km ride around the globe for mental health. Originally from Vernon, Michael has brought his passion and awareness to communities all over Canada and his passion is the reason this ride is still occurring today.
This year, more than 7,750 Canadians in 31 communities across the country cycled in the 7th annual Ride Don’t Hide event, raising an estimated $1,830,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
The largest mental health bike ride in Canada, Ride Don’t Hide raises much-needed funds for a variety of community mental health programs and services, and helps to eliminate the stigma of mental illness by inviting participants to “ride in plain sight.”
“Accepting, understanding and talking about mental illness can help alleviate the pain of stigma and stereotypes,” says Dr. Patrick Smith, national CEO, CMHA. “In order to thrive in life, we all need to feel hope, build resilience and a strong sense of connection and belonging, which the community spirit around Ride Don’t Hide really fosters. Thank you for your incredible support.”
The annual ride creates a safe, open community where individuals can talk about their mental health free of judgment.
It was an absolute honour to capture all the fun of this important day. More than 200 riders cycled from our amazing town, and we raised $58,939 for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Vernon & District Branch, with more donations expected to come in!
Wedded Bliss Photography specializes in wedding and engagement photography in Kelowna and Vernon shooting at locations such as Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Cedar Creek Estate Winery, Bottega Farm Inn & Studio, Elysium Gardens, Manteo Resort, Sparkling Hill, Durali Villa and others, and is a Vernon Photographer.