In memory of youth lost to suicide and overdose, Sparwood local Calvin Domin is running from Sparwood to Cranbrook on Oct. 31 to raise money for the East Kootenay Foundation for Health’s (EKFH) Not Alone Campaign, an initiative fundraising to support the opening of the Foundry East Kootenay.
The Foundry will be an integrated care centre providing mental health, substance use and primary care for local youth and their families.
“Foundry East Kootenay is a massive step forward in the way in which we address youth mental health in our community,” said Brenna Baker, Executive Director of the EKFH.
According to Baker, one in every five British Columbian youth need mental health or substance use services, but only a quarter of those receive the care they need.
Noticing a lack of focus placed on teen mental health since the pandemic began, Domin hopes his run will raise awareness for the importance of having a Foundry in the Elk Valley.
“Currently the Foundries that are running in BC have helped 13,000 cases in the last 18 months, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction but it’s still a far cry from where we need to be – we need more Foundries,” said Domin.
Since publicizing his fundraiser on Oct 19, Domin has already raised $5,000 of his $15,000 goal. Running alongside a group of 10 local youth, Domin will finish his run at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital on Nov. 1.
The Not Alone campaign ultimately hopes to raise $1.4 million within the next 18 months – however Baker hopes the Elk Valley can rally together to meet that goal in the next six.
Assisting with efforts is the EKFH’s annual Stars for Starlite fundraiser, running from Nov. 1 until Dec. 31. Dedicated to donating all of this year’s funds to the Not Alone Campaign, the Stars for Starlite fundraiser has already raised over $20,000.
“Everyone knows someone who has been touched by mental illness or substance use in our youth,” said Baker.
“There is a crisis going on right here at home and it is about time that this is made a priority. Suicide and overdoses are stealing our children. Foundry will change that.”
Those looking to donate to the Not Alone Campaign or Stars for Starlight fundraiser can do so via the EKFH’s website at Ekfh.ca. To donate on behalf of Domin’s run, select the Elk Valley – Stars for Starlight option when donating.
Residents may also donate by calling 250-489-6481, or mailing donations to East Kootenay Foundation for Health, 13 24th Ave N. Cranbrook BC, V1C 3H9.