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day 16a

Day 16: Bassano to Brooks 49km

My step-dad started this ride with me.  It is fun to get out together and to have someone to start the day with.  I also have to give my mom huge credit who is always ready waiting for me or us on the rides.  She is such a trooper and I am beyond grateful for her.  She has been unwell since day 1 and only thought about the ride even when encouraged to take a break. I hope she gets better soon as I can’t wait for her to join me on the beginnings of some rides too and so that she can enjoy herself more.

While riding along I was trying to allow myself to adjust to the new landscape and to not be discouraged or intimated by it.  I was enjoying the yellow canola fields until I came up to a field that smelt horrible and had little flies or something hitting my body.  I made sure to keep my mouth closed as I could see the end of the field and hoped that whatever was in the air would then be gone.  Fortunately it did not last long.  I guess that is a hazard of the prairies.

Even early this morning the heat was getting to me.  Maybe I still hadn’t cooled down enough from the day before.  While taking a break to rehydrate I decided to check my email.  That is when I received a great surprise. Here is what I put up on Facebook after the great news:

“Day 16: I received a wonderful gift this morning from Brandon Marshall, the wide receiver on the Chicago  Bears!!!!

Back when I started this campaign I said to my brother as a joke imagine if Brandon Marshall heard about Ride Away Stigma. I didn’t have intentions at that point to reach out to him rather I was just so beyond inspired by how open he had been about his diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and making a huge statement by wearing green cleats during a game. He was fined for this action but he matched that fine to give to mental health charities. This year he also pledged a million dollars to mental health.

Back in January he started following me on Instagram. I jumped up and down in my friend’s apartment with excitement that he found out about my ride without me even reaching out to him. This motivated me even more! I then was contacted a month later by Louie, the CEO of the Brandon Marshall Foundation, sharing Brandon’s interest in my ride. Their hope was to fly out to Vancouver to start the first few miles with me. Unfortunately as you can imagine he has a very busy schedule and the timing did not work. I was just still so happy that he even thought of coming to join and help spread awareness for mental health. To show my appreciation to him I sent Brandon a jersey and shorts in his size and today while on the side of the road taking a bike break this is what I received. It is a dream come true and shows as well that we really are in this together. By working together we will make a difference and diminish the unjustified stigma of mental health. Thank you so so much Brandon! You are an idol to me and to so many others!”

As I shared yesterday I think it important to have men involved with the campaign for all to see that seeking help is a sign of such strength and courage as they encourage those who need help to know it is really ok to ask for it.

Today was only a short ride and I am fortunate for that as I was really struggling with the heat.  I do not think I drank enough water yesterday after the ride or before bed to rehydrate. We did still manage to go on a road trip to Drumheller to check out the museum, the amazing landscapes and dinosaurs around town. It is fascinating how within such a short distance from the flat landscape you enter the Badlands that look like nothing else I have seen in Canada.

Tomorrow will be an early start to try and beat the heat.  Time to drink up lots of water!