Two and four-legged Saultites gathered at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Saturday morning for the second annual Run for Change.
This event, put on by Strong Minds, is a 5K run/walk that raises money for local mental health initiatives, while raising awareness about mental health and addictions and stopping the stigma that’s associated with it.
A portion of the proceeds raised this year will be going to SOYA – an organization that’s trying to end the opioid crisis in Sault Ste. Marie.
“I believe they’re trying to get a detox centre in the Sault, so I’d like to support that and get that going in the city,” Lambert explained.
“Last year I was going through my own mental health journey, and I realized that there wasn’t a lot of help for mental health, so I really wanted to raise awareness and money on mental health initiatives in Sault Ste. Marie,” Strong Minds Owner Amanda Lambert told SaultOnline about why she started this event.
Lambert said she thinks events like this are a great way to get the community involved and talking about mental health, reducing the stigma around it.
Jamie Byrne, a volunteer and participant of this year’s event, said he decided to get involved because mental health is something close to his heart
“Mental health issues affect a lot of people in every town,” he said, “and I know back home inn England it’s affected a lot of my friends and family as well, so I thought I’d get involved as much as I could over here.”
This year’s turnout was larger than last year, and Lambert hopes that number continues to grow as the event matures.
“It’s a really good feeling knowing that there are a lot of people that are compassionate about mental health. When I look around and I see the community getting together, it brings tears to my eyes,” she said.
“We’re all struggling in some way and if you just come together as a community, things will be a little bit more smoother. And that compassion component that a lot of people lack, it’s really important to get that back.”