Over $10,000 was raised for the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force by way of the first ‘dragathon’.
Last week, four queens and a king tore up the Mighty Moose on Fernie’s ski hill for four hours to raise funds and awareness for the task force, which was formed in early 2020 in response to a string of suicides in the Elk Valley with a goal of raising the profile of mental health.
One of those queens – Isabella GiaV – said the community support had been amazing, with over $6,500 raised through a GoFundMe account, and another $3,500 in cash donations from small events around town in the week leading up to the big day, including a drag walk down Second Avenue.
“Community support to get us to that number has been the real deciding factor,” said GiaV, who added she originally had a goal of $5,000.
The funds raised were impressive, but GiaV said the real win was the spotlight they put on mental health and suicide.
“The real feat is breaking the conversation – being able to talk about this.
“So many people watched the video or saw things on Instagram – there were so many ways people started talking.
“People would stop us and tell us their story.
“It really signified what we were doing this for – to break the stigma. It’s what the task force have been doing for over a year now and what they’re going to continue to do.”
GiaV said that the dragathon itself had been a great success – though she did brag a little that she was the winner, having done 37 laps of the Mighty Moose on the night – ahead of the runners-up, fellow queens Sandy Coppercrotch and Polly Hardon (who did 34 laps each).
The Dragathon was a closed event in 2021 due to the pandemic, but GiaV said that the task force along with Fernie Alpine Resort were talking about potentially opening it up in years to come – to make it a bigger, more inclusive event.
“We want to keep this in peoples minds,” said GiaV.
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