Thomas Skelton will ride over 500km this summer to raise funds for MindRight for Athletes Society. (Contributed by Thomas Skelton)

Pedal power: Elkford’s Thomas Skelton to embark on 500-plus km journey for mental health

Skelton, who is the Fernie Ghostriders assistant coach will be raising funds and awareness for MindRight

The Ghostriders’ own Thomas Skelton is going to hit the road on his bike this summer to help raise awareness for mental health.

Skelton, who is the Fernie Ghostriders assistant coach will be raising funds and awareness for the MindRight for Athletes Society, which seeks to address mental health wellness in young athletes.

To do that, he’ll be riding over 500km on his bike starting on July 2.

“Mental health is always a focus to make sure that stigma isn’t attached and that everyone is able to communicate about social-emotional health issues in a constructive way,” said Skelton.

“It’s an area I’m passionate about and it just seemed like a cause I’d like to contribute to in some way.”

Skelton has a long and arduous journey ahead of him in the name of mental health, with a four-day journey to Nelson via Kimberley, Creston and Grey Creek starting in Fernie, and then a separate 48-hour grind in the Kelowna area, where he will ride 16km every four hours for 48 hours. By splitting his six-day riding journey into two parts, he covers parts of the two Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Conferences.

“I’m going to try to get as many KIJHL communities involved as possible,” he said.

Skelton said he picked MindRight because of the work of its founder, Myles Mattila who is an alumni of the Kelowna Chiefs.

“I can’t say enough good things about all (Mattila) has done. Obviously, mental health is something near and dear to me, so with my involvement in our league and his, it just seemed like a great fit to raise awareness and funds for a great cause. I know that Mattila has done an awful lot in a very small time frame. It was a no brainer to try and collaborate to help MindRight continue to move forward and continue to do the great work they do.”

With the pandemic, like many other organizations MindRight hasn’t been able to raise funds or raise its profile through in-person events, so Skelton said a bike ride was the way to go.

“It will be an endurance ride like I’ve never been on before. I’m excited about the opportunity to grow as well as raise awareness and funds for such a worthwhile cause.”

Skelton will be riding with the support of his wife, Lisa, and their kids Kinley, Gregory and Amelia.

Donations could be made through the MindRight website at mindright.info, and corporate partners are welcomed.

To sponsor Thomas Skelton in his ride for mental health, contact him via skelton.ghostriders@gmail.com.

READ MORE: 4x4x48 challenge sees locals walk, run, bike their way for youth mental health



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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