Amie’s involvement for Ride Don’t Hide began as a rider in 2017. She now sits on the 2018 Canadian Mental Health Association, Peel Dufferin, Steering Committee. She is a regional ambassador and the Telemedicine Nurse Coordinator for CMHA Peel Dufferin.
Amie first began her journey for Ride Don’t Hide in 2017 as a cyclist for the 100km route, impressed with the positive and encouraging environment she would find herself wanting more. In August 2017, with the help of Nisha Lewis, Manager of Communications and Resource Development, she joined the steering committee for the 2018 preparations of RDH under the Peel Dufferin, Canadian Mental Health Association. This opportunity has given her a chance to meet new people and share her love of cycling while working arduously to break the stigma of mental illness and raise funds for mental health programs and services. Not only is Amie a devoted committee member, but she is also a regional ambassador, and in October 2018 she was hired to be the Telemedicine Nurse Coordinator for CMHA Peel Dufferin. She is so happy to be a part of CMHA and goes to work every morning happy and excited about the day and challenges ahead.
As a participant, Amie remembers how a group of five riders, including herself, formed in the first 5 km. The instant camaraderie was remarkable as they supported each other during the ride using each other’s strengths in different parts of the course to maximize efficiency. Though Amie admits to being a competitive person, who had initially set a goal to finish in the first group of the 100 km at around 3 hours. The team decided to cross the finish line together, they began the ride as strangers and completed it as friends. With an enormous sense of accomplishment and tears in their eyes, finishing the trip in the first group signified a snapshot of her journey and struggles with mental illness, the one she is finally winning.
From her depression to self-acceptance, she credits an active lifestyle and cycling for being some of the key components in her road to recovery during her darker times. To be fair, she says, “recovery isn’t as simple as just jumping on a bike. I did a lot of work, but I do wonder where I’d be without cycling” she reminisces. When riding, climbing is where the magic happens, and she loves the exclamation mark of achievement at the end of every climb, which overlays with life. Cycling has become a form of meditation as she describes crawling into her mind as she watches the world tick by, one pedal stroke at a time. Pushing down on the pedals, she pushes through and past the difficult times she has encountered, reminding herself that her body and mind are strong, complex and capable as they are the enablers of positive experiences. Some may see a bike as just a carbon frame, but for Amie, her bike is much more.
Amie is one of 2.8 million Canadians affected by mental illness and has experienced firsthand how crucial and necessary it is for facilities to be available and accessible. She struggled from a young age and at the time had limited resources and access treatment. Additionally, there was the stigma attached to her illness, leaving her to suffer in silence. However, with recent mental health campaigns and initiatives designed to target the youth, it gives Amie great faith that the road to recovery is within reach for everyone. She hopes to encourage others to find the benefits of physical activity as it relates to mental health and seek help when they need it. As “mental illness does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone at any time. No matter how dark or bad things may feel, with the right support, patience and hard work, it does get better. Mental health matters every day, so be kind, love yourself and take care of one another”. – Amie
This is why Amie rides. Why will you ride?