The Long Ride: In Support of Mental Illness Awareness and Eli’s Place

Riding on During the Fundraiser

For the last three years, Toronto’s David Blinick has set out on his bicycle for his annual Long Ride, a 10 day cycling trip that this year begins in Nashville and ends in New Orleans. Each year David selects a charity of choice and raises money for their cause along the way. This year, we are thrilled to announce that David has generously selected Eli’s Place as that charity. The week of September 30 – October 6 is also Mental Illness Awareness Week.  David is committed to raising awareness for mental health issues in Canada and feels his long ride is one way he can contribute to  fostering a better environment in support of those who experience mental illness.

There is a tremendous gap in our mental health system for young adults, aged 18 to 35, with serious mental illness.  Eli’s Place will provide a long-term, rural residential treatment and recovery-based program.

We wish to thank David for all his efforts and wish him a wonderful trip! If you would like to make a donation to Eli’s Place in honour of The Long Ride and Mental Illness Awareness Week, you can do so on our donation page.

David’s Story:

While I have not been a cyclist for my whole life, I started to cycle more avidly over the past 15 years.  My wife and two of my very good friends are avid cyclists and we began taking summer road trips that had us travelling and cycling in some really special places.

As a natural wanderer, the thought of going for an extended time away was very alluring. After building up both experience and stamina, I decided to try for the ‘highly unlikely’ – a one month cycle trip to South Beach (Miami) from Toronto. I fully admit, having never done something like this, it felt very daunting.  And going public with my ride gave me a sense of pressure that I at least had to start!  Originally it was going to be a solo adventure – I was not interested in travelling with a stranger as I am perfectly happy being out on my own for extended periods of time.

However, my good friend Andrew – an inspiration and my cycling enthusiast friend – became so excited at the prospect that he soon committed to riding one week with me at the beginning.  That made starting out so much less daunting and eased my anxieties. A little support can go a long way.

David Blinick, during his Long Ride in 2017

Once the trip was essentially committed, I turned my mind to how to make it something more meaningful.  It seems to me that if you are going to do something, you should try to extend it beyond what may seem obvious and make it something bigger, with purpose.  By tying individual efforts to a broader social good, you can bring about something bigger than one’s own experiential gain – a little support can go a long way.  Thus, I decided to associate my effort with a charity and my first trip proved to be easier and more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.

This year, my third ride, (which I refer to as N3 for number three, and Nashville to New Orleans on the Natchez Trail) is proving to be more challenging to get started on.  It was more difficult to choose a route, the start date is later, my schedule is more compressed and the personal drive to accomplish the ride is less.  Taken together, they increase the inertia that has to be overcome to undertake the effort.

“A big difference this time though is my emotional connection to the charity, Eli’s Place.”

I know many of the people associated with this charity.  I have friends who have lost children to mental illness and suicide. I know people who suffer greatly from mental illness and mental health issues.  It surrounds me in my daily life more than any other illness or disease. And it is something that needs community support. My Long Ride this year is thus committed to supporting the incredible efforts of Eli’s Place in opening Canada’s first long-term, rural residential treatment and recovery-based program for young adults aged 18-35.

Please join me in supporting them by donating to Eli’s Place during my ride and during Mental Illness Awareness Week. A little support can go a long way.

You can follow David’s adventures on his Facebook page here.

There is a tremendous gap in our mental health system for young adults, aged 18 to 35, with serious mental illness.  Eli’s Place will provide a long-term, rural residential treatment and recovery-based program.

We urge you to be a part of this revolution in mental health treatment. The first of its kind in Canada, Eli’s Place will offer individualized therapeutic care and recovery programs, with a graduated transition into the community.  A range of programs will promote recovery and resilience through the acquisition of life and work skills needed to move from survival to living, and from mental illness to hopeful futures.

Thank you for Giving Recovery A Chance with your donation to Eli’s Place.

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This March, CanadaHelps will make an additional one-time donation of $20 for every new monthly gift of $20 or more in support of Eli’s Place!*