A Sudbury man who was inspired by the Team Unbreakable campaign in his city this year has rallied around the cause to raise much-needed funds for youth mental health.
Darren Parker, 51, calls his campaign the “Courageous Hope” Marathon. He says “for a period of time I retreated and remained quiet and tucked away (from talking about mental health). I was inspired by the Unbreakable Spring Open and I am extremely motivated to once again engage openly.”
You can donate to Darren’s campaign by going to his fundraising site https://www.giveffect.com/campaigns/4634-courageous-hope
Darren adds: “My personal story has been impacted (either directly or indirectly) by mental illness, suicide, addictive behaviors since I was 17 years old. I have lost several members of our family to suicide. I am in large part running this marathon in the fall (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon) for all of us who have been impacted one way or another by mental illness. I am running for the individual who feels lost and alone in the midst of a social world. I am running for the one who is contemplating harming themselves. I am running for those who turn to substance use as a means to cope with life’s realities. I am running for the surviving family members and friends of those who have succumbed to suicide. I am running for those who are no longer with us.”
Darren was also recently interviewed by CBC in Sudbury about his story. Read more here.
What originally started off with Darren running his first marathon, has morphed into something other. Friends and runners in Strava (social network for athletes) have formed the ‘Toronto Bound – STWM 2017’ group combining their efforts to “raise awareness and break stigma one kilometer at a time.”
One of Darren’s motivating core values is that living a life with mental illness is a life worth living. He further describes this as “…one that requires courageous hope…and requires a courageous hope to keep living our lives with passion and vibrancy.
Even now, the Parker family finds themselves in the midst of another more challenge life events. “We continue to stand together as a family, being as supportive as we can, having decided long ago that giving up is not an option. No matter how many times we go through this, it never gets easier…only more familiar. We understand the reality of living a life believing that we are “Unbreakable.” I thoroughly love this motto because of its importance, absolute possibility and undeniable necessity.” “Mental health issues can be extremely debilitating – for everyone involved…but can be effectively managed, even prevented,” Darren said.