Three standing ovations were given to Clara Hughes during her talk at the Pictou County Wellness Centre last week during the Pictou County ‘Voices’ for Mental Health event.
The six-time Olympic medalist stopped in New Glasgow on her cross-Canada, 12,000 kilometer trek called Clara’s Big Ride, raising awareness for mental health.
The local event, hosted by the Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group and the Department of Mental Health Services, included musical performances by The Third Step, Karen Corbin, Dave Gunning and George Canyon. The icing on the cake was a talk by Hughes herself.
“This event sold out in two days, it took Halifax six weeks to sell out,” said Starr Dobson, emcee.
And the crowd in the room was an indication of how much people in Pictou County and beyond are supportive of the initiative.
The Winnipeg native travelled from Halifax to New Glasgow, 165 km in five hours and 20 minutes through rain “so hard we couldn’t see in front us,” said Hughes, noting there were a few times she was almost blown off of her bike.
But keeping in mind the students from the school they just visited in Halifax, Hughes continued her journey.
“When you connect with young people, especially for me, it just reminds me that the influence of others not giving up on things such as sport, really made a difference in my life. The longevity of this ride, I think, is an example of perseverance to never give up on the possibilities… about erasing the stigma attached with mental health.”
The room was silent as Hughes shared her inspiring story of triumph over adversity.
“I was born into a family of substance abuse,” she said.
By the time Hughes was...