An Elk Valley man ran from Sparwood to Cranbrook this past weekend on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, raising over $20,000 as part of a campaign to raise money for a regional youth mental health centre.
Calvin Domin, a Sparwood resident, ran 175 kilometres in 24 hours, starting in Sparwood and ending at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook, collecting pledges for the Starlite — Not Alone campaign.
The Starlite – Not Alone campaign, which is a partnership between the East Kootenay Foundation for Health and the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Family and Child Services Society, is aiming to raise $1.4 million for a Foundry East Kootenay centre. The centre will serve as a new, integrated youth and family care centre that provides mental health, substance abuse and primary care for youth and family.
Domin was joined by local youth as he completed the final leg, running from the outskirts of Cranbrook into the parking lot at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital on Sunday morning, greeted by a crowd of supporters, friends and local dignitaries.
“It was a painful night,” Domin told the crowd, taking a long pause to collect his emotions. “I think it was symbolic. All my friends, my support crew, my parents, they were my foundry, so I’m excited to see the real foundry for the youth. Thank you.”
Rebecca White, a counsellor with the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Family and Child Services Society, said she drew symbolism from Domin’s run through the night.
“Running through the dark, to me, felt really important that you did that, because that’s what it really feels like for young people, that they’re running in the dark with mental health,” she said.
“I’m really, really excited for Foundry. It really is going to change the way that young people feel in Cranbrook and the East Kootenay and also to know they can have instant access to health care, counselling and all the resources.”
The importance of a Foundry centre to the region, and the significance of offering mental health and substance use services for youth locally, was highlighted in an emotional speech from Michelle Evans, who spoke about her experience trying to access services for her daughter, Kassy.
Kassy was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [OCD] in elementary school, but services and treatment options were primarily offered out of the area in places like Calgary, Kelowna and Vancouver, often requiring weekly trips.
“If only the East Kootenay had a place like the Foundry back then,” said Evans. “A place that was open and inviting and engaging professionals trained specifically to treat youth. Early intervention and support could have meant the world to my daughter.”
Kassy passed away suddenly seven years ago.
“This concept of one building with multiple professionals, will — in my opinion — help tens of thousands of youth and save hundreds of lives,” Evans said.
Foundry is a province-wide network of integrated health and social services for youth from 12-24 years of age. Roughly 300,000 youth in the province need mental health or substance use services, yet, as few as 25 per cent of those receive the care they need, according to the East Kootenay Foundation for Health.
Brenna Baker, the executive director for the East Kootenay Foundation for Health, emphasized the need for Foundry services by outlining an aggressive fundraising timeline.
“This is such an important initiative. I believe, for the East Kootenay Foundation for Health, this is the most important project that we’ve undertaken,” Baker said. “We’re excited about it, and we’re hoping to raise the $1.4 million…it’s an 18 month campaign, but we’re hoping to do it in six months.”