CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Cyclists are riding the Island to raise awareness and cash to support kids’ mental health.
CASA provides mental health treatment and services to families with children and youth, age three to 18, in a variety of therapy programs, support groups and school-based facilities in Alberta. The cycling tour runs until June 19, and is one of two western Canadian cycling tours supporting the cause this month, stated a press release.
“Vancouver Island is special to CASA and its supporters,” Nadine Samycia, CASA’s chief donor love officer, the press release said. “In 2014, a group of cyclists rode nearly 2,000 kilometres from Masset to Edmonton, raising funds for a children’s hospital and delivering a totem pole carved by acclaimed Haida artist and cyclist Ben Davidson.”
Samycia said the cyclists formed a friendship with Davidson and started an annual trip to support CASA and children’s mental health. Davidson designed a modern totem pole for CASA in 2019 and planned an epic 2020 Vancouver Island adventure tour that was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davidson passed away suddenly in August 2020 at his home in Haida Gwaii, the press release stated.
This year 18 cyclists are finally riding the planned route in Davidson’s memory, the press release said. They’ll be on the road for a week, riding throughout the Island and the Discovery Islands, from Cumberland, to Quadra and Cortes islands, Port Renfrew and Victoria to support CASA services.
Peter O’Brien is cycling the Vancouver Island and southern Alberta legs of the tour in memory of his late wife, Rachel.
“Rachel’s journey with melanoma and immune therapy gave us seven years after her diagnosis,” O’Brien said in the press release. “That is the difference between our youngest child having been 14 when she lost her mom, versus 21. When I think of what that would have been like for my 14-year-old, I can’t help but feel like we would have needed to lean hard on CASA for support. I will continue to help in any way I can to support the cause.”
The tour arrives in Nanaimo Wednesday, June 15, after cycling from Quadra Island. It leaves Nanaimo for Lake Cowichan and Port Renfrew Thursday June 16.