Two Guelph residents will be taking Ride Don’t Hide on the road this summer. Mary and Dave Jackson are taking the annual cycling fundraiser and going a step further, pledging to raise funds for the Waterloo Wellington ride while cycling 626 kilometres from Guelph to Montreal.
“My husband and I have always loved to be active—one of those stress-release things, to be physically active—and we love to be outside in nature,” says Jackson. “We had a friend who we sponsored for Ride Don’t Hide, so I looked into it, and we thought, ‘heck, let’s be virtual riders and raise funds along the way.’”
Starting June 15th, the Jacksons will ride an average of 50 to 75 kilometres a day—with occasional rest days—aiming to end up in Montreal for the start of the Jazz Festival. The two are no strangers to long-distance rides; a number of years ago, they completed a 1,000-kilometre trek from Calgary to Vancouver.
“That was hard. I cried some days,” she laughs. “But it was a great trip. That was, I think, one of the best trips my husband and I ever did.”
Each year, Ride Don’t Hide raises important funds for community-based programs and services offered by Canadian Mental Health Association branches across the country. For Mary and Dave, the cause is an important one.
“We actually sat down and we counted out—just on a quick hand—how many people we know that are affected, and we easily came up with over a hundred. So that’s why we wanted to support [Ride Don’t Hide],” says Jackson. “These people are very resilient and strong folks, and we think that by riding and raising awareness, we can help join those that are working to end the stigma associated with it.”
Riding as the Guelph Wanderers, the Jacksons started out with a goal of raising $626—a dollar for each kilometre they would ride. Within days, they had eclipsed their goal and have now raised over $1,000 to date.
“It’s been phenomenal. It didn’t take long, and I think what that shows us is how many people are affected by [mental health],” she says. “We think it’s super important for those folks that aren’t affected personally to stand beside those that are, because that’s what can make a huge difference.”