SAULT STE. MARIE: In an effort to raise awareness on mental health and addictions the Strong Minds Run for Change was a huge success in spite of being virtual. Strong Minds owner and organizer Amanda Lambert, was overjoyed by the community support in raising over $3,000 towards mental health and addictions in the city of Sault Ste. Marie.
Since opening Strong Minds just three years ago, Lambert has been supporting individuals with mental health needs, by coaching them through various support programs and through individualized workout regiments.
Lambert had the idea in her head since 2017 about organizing a run/walk specifically targeted towards mental health and addiction when she was doing research and discovered there wasn’t any kind of support or awareness.
“The reason for the runs is because over three years ago I was doing research and there was literally no event that raised awareness on mental health and addictions. There seemed to be a lot of runs that brought awareness to other illnesses, but nothing geared specifically to mental health and addictions.”
The first run took place on May 12, 2018, with over 100 registrants, and Lambert’s goal from there has been to double the number of participants each year. Last year she did just so, by having over 240 individuals partake in this run. Unfortunately this year, Lambert had to be creative with how she was going to host the run while social distancing.
“When I was putting this event together, I was trying to be as optimistic as possible and hope for the best essentially. There was a little part of me that almost cancelled the event, and rescheduled for September. But I just didn’t want to. I really wanted this event to go on, it is during Children’s Mental Health/Mental Health Week and this is just a really important week. It’s an annual event that happens in May where we want to promote the awareness of the presence of mental health challenges throughout child and adulthood, and the need for support and funding for community mental health services’.
The Third Annual Run of Change took place Saturday, May 9, but took place in a different way. Participants were encouraged to run or walk the 5km either on a treadmill, in the trail or just out in their neighbourhoods. From there participants posted their runs and walks on the Strong Minds Facebook page.
“It was an amazing turnout. I’m so beyond proud of our city for coming together, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic. It was a great success. There were over 100 people who participated and 123 tickets were sold over Eventbrite. Strong Minds was able to raise over $3,000 with this event. All this money gets donated back to the community, to mental health initiatives.”
Lambert understands the need for awareness in the community, and took it upon herself to implement to make a change.
“I know there are some who may not have access or the support they need and I really wanted to put an event on or a movement of some sort that raised awareness on mental health and addiction and raise money for those who really need it.”
Lambert’s main focus to hosting events like this is to break the stigma associated with mental health and addiction.
“I want to really end that stigma associated with it. There are so many people who are still affected by it. It’s no different from breaking your ankle and going to the hospital to get help. I want people to understand that it is okay to get help.”
Lambert has already secured her spot for the Fourth Annual Run For Change, to be hosted at the Pavilion on May 8, 2021. In preparing for the next event, Lambert has been thinking of putting together a committee to help get more exposure and networking in the community and has ideas of encouraging kids to run/walk at the start of the event, before the 5km to help attract more families.
“If parents want to join the 5km they can leave their kids where they would sign a waiver and volunteers will watch them so they can participate”
“I want to start a committee, a Strong Minds Run For Change committee; if I can raise over $3,000 by myself preparing for this for four months. I can only imagine what could happen if I get a committee going. What I want to do is more networking and getting the community involved.”
In addition to hosting the event, many businesses locally were very supportive in helping to donate prizes for participants. Lambert would like to acknowledge the support from Pita Pit, which gave out free smoothies the day of the event including a gift card. Freshii donated a gift basket and an $8 off promo code to all registrants during this week May 11-15. Best Buy donated $150 gift card, RAAM Fitness donated a $100 gift card. While a few local fitness gyms have donated virtual lessons, such as Jade Wellness, the Healing Loft, Fit Bodies Fit Minds. The Healing Loft donated two beaded bracelets and two essential rollers. Other businesses donated food such as, The Breakfast Pig and the Service Grill.
“I’m really thankful for the community, for all the support and kindness. This event wouldn’t have been able to be successful without each and every one of the individuals who donated and participated. I am beyond thankful for all the participants and I’m really excited to see the turn out for the Fourth Annual Run For Change.”
For more information please go to the Strong Minds Facebook page or visit the website at http://www.strongminds.co/?fbclid=IwAR1h1Jh6M_Wb9X0N122WjLW60MkQrpkD_pOyTgnwzm8yShwzQU8baGGR_WM