In a summer of runs, voyager canoes, car rallies and other forms of fundraising exercises, the Canal Pursuit is passing through North Grenville and Merrickville this week. The Canal Pursuit for mental health is a 750 km relay run along the Trent-Severn Canal from Port Severn to Trenton, across to Kingston, then up the Rideau Canal to Ottawa ending on Parliament Hill at the Centennial Flame, to help raise awareness and funds for mental health issues. It is being organised by Defeat Depression, is a national mental health awareness, anti-stigma and fundraising campaign that provides hope and reduces stigma for people affected by depression and other mood disorders, in cooperation with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. The goal of the Pursuit, aside from raising awareness, is to raise money: $10,000 is the target, and around $8,000 had been donated already.

Local resident, Kathy Tang, will be one of the runners going through Merrickville Lock as far as Burritt’s Rapids, starting around 4.30 on Thursday, and another runner will take the stretch from there through Kemptville after that. The Canal Pursuit ends in Ottawa on September 1.

Depression is a common illness affecting many individuals and families. It strikes all socioeconomic, educational, and cultural backgrounds. Physical activities, such as walking and running, along with social interactions can have a positive effect on mental health, and opening the dialogue to educate Canadians about mental illness can help break down the barrier of stigma.

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