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Day 1: Vancouver to Mission 70km

Wow where do I even begin?  I am still trying to process everything that happened today.  I could not have asked for a better way to start the cycling portion of my journey with Ride Away Stigma.  My launch from Vancouver was set against the backdrop of the mountains, in The Athlete’s Village Plaza on False Creek, and under beautifully blue sunny skies.

Before the event I kept drawing a blank as to what I should say for my speech.  I had no idea what I was going to say until I got on stage and began to speak.  Everything simply fell into place and felt natural.  My step Dad had reminded me of something that I said, “I wanted to turn the tragedy of my Dad’s death into something positive.”  This became my opening line and everything flowed from there.  It actually happened.  Day One of my cycling journey!

I was blown away by the support I received today in Vancouver.  There was a great crowd of friends, family, first responders, mental health agencies and community members. I only wish I had more time to be able to chat with everyone individually and thank them for being there.

As I cycled away from the Athlete’s Village Square, I was joined by:  John from Lundbeck Canada, my title sponsor, Kim from Canadian Mental Health Association and my cousin Ben.  We rode through Vancouver to Burnaby with a police escort and a fire truck travelling behind.  One of the policemen told my Mom that this is what they do for a Presidential Parade.  We got to ride through the streets of Vancouver, 4 a breast, chatting, laughing and bringing awareness to mental health.  I can’t thank the police and fire departments enough for their support.

Kim shared with me as we rode that first leg – “your first stop is Mission, your second Hope, and you are on a mission to create hope.”  Thank you John and Kim for riding that first leg with me … we truly are on a mission to create hope for those struggling and to end the stigma associated with mental health.