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Cross-Ontario bike ride to support youth mental health switches gears due to pandemic
TORONTO -- An Ontario woman has switched gears to ensure her fundraiser for youth mental health continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meghan Seybold, from Aurora, had been planning for close to a year to ride 2,200 kilometres across Ontario, from Kenora to Ottawa, this June for Jack.org, a Canadian charity training youth leaders to help other youth with mental health.
The 51-year-old mother and human resources professional said she lived with depression as a young person.
When the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus changed everything in March, Seybold debated what to do about her bike trip, but ultimately decided she would find a way to make it happen.
“I don’t know what the next three months, next week is going to look like, and it just felt really important to try and continue,” she told CTV News Toronto.
To make up the kilometres of trip, Seybold is taking to her stationary trainer two evenings a week. Three other days a week she’ll be cycling on the road.
Seybold launched the ride Monday from her front yard with neighbours joining in for support at her physically distanced side.
“It’s really truly inspiring to see someone work so hard these past couple months. I think it’s really cool all of our kids seeing what she’s doing and it’s setting such a good example,” neighbour and supporter Christy Gardner said.
Seybold said with COVID-19 there is a greater need to break mental health barriers and therefore she wants to help make asking for help easier.
“With the self-isolation, with the fear, with the loss of contact in these times they should be celebrating graduation, going to proms, getting excited about going off to university and those things aren’t happening right now,” she said.
“Those that were vulnerable pre-COVID-19 are at a higher risk.”
Seybold is encouraging people to check in with her virtually using the Zwift app, which can be used for training and connects cyclists.
She hopes to raise $50,000 for Jack.org and expects to be peddling toward her goal for the next five weeks.