There was a time when Ginny and Kerry Dennehy did not know if they would carry on raising money for The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation.
Through tireless fundraising and dedication they had raised $5 million for the foundation, named in honour of their son who committed suicide in 2001 while suffering from depression.
But when they lost their 23-year-old daughter Riley in 2009 from a heart attack caused by pain medication for a separated shoulder, they began to question the path they were on.
"We didn't know what we were going to do after the two losses of our children," Ginny told council Tuesday night.
They thought, then, that they would not carry on.
But, instead, the Dennehys have decided to launch a new multi-million dollar campaign called Enough is Enough — a cross Canada bike ride this summer to raise both awareness and funds for mental health.
To launch the ride they are hosting the East Meets West party at Buffalo Bills on May 4 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $49.
Ultimately they want to raise $6.7 million with a lofty goal to see a Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre in every province and territory in Canada, much like the one at B.C. Children's and the newest one slated for the Hope Centre at Lions Gate.
The goal for this particular 8,000 km ride is to raise $1 million and create the nest egg for those resource centres. And it's to get people talking about mental illness, remove the stigmas from the disease. Every dollar raised within the province it was given will stay within that province.
"This is a disease that affects way too many," said Ginny, adding that one in five people in Canada will experience a mental health problem and about half will not seek out help. Suicide accounts for roughly one in five deaths among 15-44 year-olds.
Day one for the Dennehys is Sunday May 12 at 9 a.m. All are welcome to attend the send off at Meadow Park. On August 29 there will be a welcome home party at Whistler Olympic Plaza. "We're very excited about that," said Ginny.
"We're so proud of being a part of this community."
"This is incredibly ambitious," said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "I have no doubt that you and Kerry will complete it, given what you've done with the foundation."
Pique readers will be able to follow the Dennehys on their journey though an Enough is Enough blog hosted online at www.piquenewsmagazine.com, which will go live on May 5.
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