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Dodge the Stigma hits youth mental health target

By November 30, 2022No Comments
The Cenovus Energy Ballsangas were all smiles after winning the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation’s Dodge the Stigma, all while raising money for mental health initiatives in the Border City.Photo by Sierrah Bennett

 

What do you get when you combine 120 players, 12 hours of play, and a lot of really bad movie puns? An awe-inspiring fundraiser for youth mental health, that’s what.

From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, the Hoop Factory was the place to be as the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation (LRHF) hosted its 12-hour Gift to Health fundraiser. 

This year’s fundraiser consisted of a dodgeball tournament, appropriately named Dodge the Stigma, and raised a total of $295,234, with donations still coming in.

“Over the years, the goal of the Gift of Health has changed,” said LRHF CEO Stephanie Munro. 

“Last year we raised money for diagnostic imaging. This year, and we see this as our biggest need, we’re raising money for youth mental health as well as a TIMS machine for the speech-language and pathology department at the Lloydminster Hospital.

“We’re raising money for healthcare, but it’s so much more than that, we’re building community.”

Munro explained the pandemic played a large role in the selection process for where funds would go from this year’s fundraiser.

“It’s not just adults suffering from mental health. The youth of our community, and the youth of Canada as a nation have really suffered, and it shows through the statistics,” she said. 

“Having said that, today has been such an amazing day. There’s so much excitement and energy in the room, it’s amazing. It’s also been amazing being able to have all of these people come together after two and a half years.”

Munro says more proactive work needs to be done in regard to youth mental health, which is exactly what the LRHF is currently in the process of.

“We’re trying to come up with programming we’re going to be able to utilize and resource for youth in our community as an essential item,” she said.

“We’ve been working closely with the Lloydminster public and Lloydminster Catholic School Divisions to collaborate and really look at what youth mental health programming looks like, and what’s the best use of the funds, whether that goes through the school system or community-based programming. 

“We’re not exactly sure what that programming will look like, but we’ve been asking different user groups for their perspective.”

The day’s MC was none other than local runner and big-time fundraiser Mikey Dubz (Mike Welygan), who has played a pivotal role in the Gift to Health over the years.

Two years ago, Dubz ran on a treadmill for 12 hours straight while Shawn Newman of the Shawn Newman Podcast live-streamed the entire time. Last year’s Gift to Health consisted of 24 local residents running on treadmills for 12 hours straight alongside Dubz at the Lloyd Ex. 

This is the kind of fundraising growth Munro is hoping to see more of in the future, but as for right now, she’s thankful for everyone who made this year’s Gift to Health such a success.

“The Hoop Factory’s Tanner Brightman and Chris King have been amazing,” she said. “I asked about using the facility for the event and there was no hesitation. They fully comped the space for us, and we can’t thank them enough.”

Munro also wanted to thank all of the event’s sponsors including Cenovus Energy, Synergy Credit Union, Boundary Ford Gives, CNRL, Maz Entertainment and Kolab Print Co, the countless donors, sponsors and everyone involved in making the day an overwhelming success.