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Events planned to welcome Olympian Clara Hughes to Nelson

Olympian Clara Hughes will be in Nelson on Saturday, May 24 as part of her cross-Canada bike ride to help raise awareness and action for mental health. - Kent Kallberg
Olympian Clara Hughes will be in Nelson on Saturday, May 24 as part of her cross-Canada bike ride to help raise awareness and action for mental health.
— image credit: Kent Kallberg

On Saturday May 24, Olympian Clara Hughes will ride into Nelson with Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk, the 110 day, 12,000 kilometre journey around Canada to help raise awareness and action for mental health and help end the stigma around mental illness. The community is invited to welcome Hughes to Nelson in the afternoon downtown or at a more formal event in the evening.

“It is wonderful to have an Olympian like Clara Hughes visit the Kootenays,” says Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall. “The fact that she'll be here to raise awareness about mental illness and reduce social stigma is a real credit to Clara and a credit to this community that we are welcoming her.”

Hughes is one of the most decorated Olympic athletes in Canadian history. The 41-year-old competed in six Olympic games, won two bronze medals in the 1996 Summer Olympics in cycling and collected four medals — including one gold — over the course of three Winter Olympic Games.

Hughes will bike into Nelson in the afternoon and the community is invited to come out and celebrate. A parade will be held prior to her arrival. If your group is interested in riding you must register with Kim Palfenier of the Nelson Regional Sports Council at nrsc@telus.net. People-powered wheeled vehicles such as bikes and skateboarders are welcome. No walking will be permitted in the parade.

A celebration will be set up at the intersection of Hall and Baker Street, next to Gerick Cycle and Ski, to welcome Hughes to Nelson where she will talk to the community about her own mental health story.

“I would like to welcome Clara Hughes to Nelson and to thank her for undertaking this important campaign for mental health,” says Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko. “As a former teacher, I understand the significance of raising awareness, especially among youth. It is important to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness that often prevents individuals from seeking help and getting the support they need. Thanks, Clara, for your dedication to this cause.”

That night the Prestige Lakeside Resort will host the evening event. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the evening will include beverages and sweets, an opportunity to talk with others about mental health, and a motivational speech from Hughes. Tickets will be available for $25 at Sacred Ride and Gerick Cycle and Ski. All raised funds will go to the newly created Osprey Foundation Fund for Mental Wellness. The evening event will conclude at 9 p.m.

Before Hughes rides out of Nelson, she will visit L.V. Rogers secondary school on Monday morning to talk about her experiences overcoming depression. There will be 1,000 high school students from Nelson, Slocan Valley, Salmo and Kaslo in attendance. Hughes will then begin the next stage of her ride through Balfour, Crawford Bay and into Creston.

Please join the community in welcoming Hughes to Nelson on May 24 by participating in the parade or cheering when she arrives at Hall Street or attending the evening event.

The City of Nelson, the Kootenay Boundary Community Services Co-operative, Nelson Star, EZ Rock, Best Western Baker Street Inn, Gerick Cycle and Ski, Prestige Lakeside Resort, Bank of Montreal, Kootenay Lake School District, Nelson Regional Sports Council, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism and other community organizations are excited to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to raise awareness and funds to support local mental health initiatives.

Donations can be made online at ospreycommunityfoundation.ca.

For more information, please visit bell.ca/clarasbigride.

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