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'Not alone': Veterans, first responders ride in support of mental health

Cyclists in Greater Sudbury took part in the annual Wounded Warriors Ride for Mental Health on Saturday.

Cyclists in Greater Sudbury took part in the annual Wounded Warriors Ride for Mental Health on Saturday. (Supplied/Lockerby Legion Branch 564)The goal of the event is to raise awareness about various mental health challenges – particularly experience by military personnel and first responders related to the trauma they witness first hand.

The ride also raises money for programs to help these ‘warriors.’

Det. Const. Ryan Hutton is the Wounded Warriors Ambassador for the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) told CTV News that this help is important to both the organizations and the individuals to let them know they are not alone and help is out there.

“There needs to be no stigma to this,” he said.

“They can't fight it on their own and they are not alone.”

GSPS Deputy Chief Natalie Hiltz said many people suffer with mental health issues in silence.

“We really really need to create more awareness,” she said.

“We need to get more financial and community support in creating those program that support the critical work that we do in public safety spaces.”

About 25 cyclist took part in the 57 kilometre ride – each with their own reason for riding but with the common goal of over coming stigmas related to mental health issues and raising money for the cause.

Gore Bay Fire Department’s deputy chief Duncan Sinclair told CTV News he thinks that people who risk their lives for complete strangers every day deserve our support.

Sinclair said for that reason he rides every year.

Veteran Steve Brink said he has friends who have suffered with mental health and he has seen the effect it has had on them.

“I think it's very important to bring awareness to the community to help raise funds for this,” he said.

The Greater Sudbury Police Service raised more than $1,750 for Wounded Warriors Canada for Sudbury's annual Ride for Mental Health. (Supplied/Lockerby Legion Branch 564)GSPS raised more than $1,750 for Wounded Warrior Canada.

“There is a lot of awareness campaigns, a lot of literature, a lot of events that people participate in so that members of our community do understand that it's okay to not be okay,” said Hiltz.

"(Today we) rally to eliminate those stigmas that have haunted us traditionally in the sector."

Lockerby Legion Branch 564, who hosted the ride, donated $5,000 to Wounded Warriors Canada or the event. (Supplied/Lockerby Legion Branch 564)The Lockerby Legion Branch 564 hosted the ride and presented a cheque of $5,000 for the cause at the event.

Organizers told CTV News the biggest goal of the ride is to help veterans, first responders and their families feel safe, supported and understood – adding the event gains more riders every year.

The legion’s public relations officer Rick Smith in a telephone interview with CTV news confirmed this year’s event raised $18,000 for Wounded Warrior Canada.

Greater Sudbury's 57 km Wounded Warriors Ride for Mental Health concluded at Memorial Park downtown. (Supplied/Lockerby Legion Branch 564)To see more photos from the event, click the related images gallery below. Top Stories

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