By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford is joining cyclists across Toronto for a 24-hour cycling marathon to raise funds for community mental health care at Michael Garron Hospital.
The campaign – CRUSH COVID – is in its second year.
Last year the campaign raised funds for the Coxwell Avenue hospital’s COVID-19 response and the effects on the community. This year, the campaign seeks to raise more money to alleviate the impact COVID-19 has had on mental health.
So far, more than $250,000 has been raised by 243 participants. Cyclists will be riding from home on stationary bikes and will livestream the ride.
“As we hit the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, we’re starting to see and feel the mental health toll in our communities,” Bradford said.
“The mental health and addiction crises in our communities have only deepened during the pandemic. CRUSH COVID: Ride for Mind is a way for us to come together virtually and shine a light on these issues, and tackle them at the place and scale with the deepest impact, right here in the community.”
The cyclists will gather virtually via online cycling platform Zwift, and through the video conferencing platform Zoom.
There are a total of 343 participants signed up in 55 different teams. Those seeking to participate can still join by visiting crushcovid.ca
In addition, Lucy Hempstead from Toronto Hustle – a cycling team – will attempt to break the world record for distance travelled on an indoor bike over 24 hours by a female cyclist. The current record is 680 km.
The campaign is organized by Toronto Hustle and Michael Garron Hospital. Funds being raised will go to the hospital.
“Our frontline health teams are so inspired by the way the community has rallied around our hospital over the last year,” MGH Foundation president Mitze Mourinho said.
“We are so grateful for the energy and generosity shown for CRUSH COVID again this year. We can’t wait to welcome cyclists from across Toronto and around the world back to this unique virtual event to help address the mental health crisis that has emerged from the pandemic, particularly for the most vulnerable among us,” she added.
CRUSH COVID starts on Friday, March 12 at 6 p.m. and ends Saturday, March 13 at 6 p.m.
To donate or participate, visit https://mghf.akaraisin.com/ui/crushcovid
Bradford will livestream his ride on https://www.facebook.com/BradMBradford
Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.